Apple has filed for a trademark on the term “iWatch” in Japan, furthering rumors that it is working on a wearable mobile device.
Bloomberg reported that Apple made a filing with the Japan Patent Office on June 3 to protect the name. The filing was in a category for products such as a handheld computer or watch, and was made public last week. In addition, Russian newspaper Izvestia reports that the company filed a patent for the name in Russia on June 3, as well.
Apple declined to comment on the matter, thus rumors that the company is developing the product remain just that — rumors. The patent filing could be a move to prevent others from using the name, or a way to save it for a product down the road.
Still, despite whether Apple is working on an iWatch, mobile marketers should be ready to adapt to a much smaller screen in the future. Sony has been selling its SmartWatch for over a year and recently announced it will release the SmartWatch 2 later this year. Samsung announced in March that it, too, has plans for a smartwatch and the company recently filed a patent for the name “Samsung Gear,” thought to be slated for the product.
The Sony SmartWatch 2 will feature a 1.6-inch 220×176 touch screen and, like its predecessor, it will serve as a notification device, an interface for Android apps and a watch. While marketers haven’t yet had to pay close attention to the device as it gains traction with consumers, it should be noted that the device’s new features include NFC capability. This, in theory, could be a game-changer in mobile payment markets, as it means customers could pay for items in brick-and-mortar stores without even having to remove their smartphones from a pocket or purse.
Though the true performance of these devices can only be measured once they are released, it’s clear that wearable mobile technology must stay in the forefront of mobile marketing strategies.
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