Credit: Apple.The long-rumored iWatch may not be called the iWatch after all. The US Patent and Trademark Office just granted Apple a patent for a smartwatch today (July 22), revealing some interesting features. What's more, an image in the patent filing calls the watch the iTime.
Filed on January 31, 2011, the patent outlines a square-faced wristwatch with a touchscreen, onboard sensors that include accelerometer and/or gyroscope, Bluetooth, GPS and a "haptic device" for sending vibration alerts. Via Bluetooth, this smartwatch can connect to a mobile device and allow the user to control basic smartphone functions, such as viewing notifications and answering or declining phone calls.
The smartwatch can also serve as a sort of remote control for other apps on users' smartphones. For example, if you're playing music from a smartphone connected via Bluetooth to the iTime, the smartwatch could be used to pause or play the music, skip songs, and perform other actions.
Unlike most other smartwatches already on the market, Apple's device has more functions that can be used independent of a connection with a smartphone. Apple's smartwatch can store music and video directly on the device, and it also has a headphone jack.
The patent doesn't specify the material of the smartwatch band, saying it may be rubber, silicone, plastic, mylar, vinyl, or another material entirely. Most recent reports point to Apple using a curved glass display.
Another image in Apple's smartwatch patent. Credit: Apple.
As Popular Mechanics points out, the iTime patent says that the face of the device would be removable. The band itself would house circuitry for the GPS, heart rate monitor and motion tracking. We'll have to wait to see whether Apple opts for a modular or integrated design for the final product.
Apple has never confirmed that it is working on a smartwatch, or anything called iWatch or iTime, but Re/code reported in June that Apple plans a wearable launch event in October. This would come once month after the iPhone 6 is expected to go on sale. It's going to be a busy fall for Apple.
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