In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, a report has been filed that Apple has applied for a trademark for the term “iWatch.”
“The trademark application was filed on June 3 and made public by Japan’s Patent Office on June 27. The application was filed under a product category for a computer or watch device. An official at the Patent Office said the application needs to go through a formal examination process before it can be approved.”
Apple’s interest in so called “wearable” computers or computer-like devices has been out there for a while now. Most recently at the All Things D conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly mentioned that he wears a Nike+ Fuel Band and that the wearables category is “ripe for innovation”. Long time observers know that is Apple-speak for we are working on something in the lab.
But the question that I have is whether or not now is the right time for iWatch? I’m not talking in a sense of should they or shouldn’t they make a device you wear on your wrist, but rather is the device on track for a near future release? My guess is no, the iWatch is still at least 5 – 6 months away. I don’t expect such a product to be released this holiday season.
If such a product is under development, I would be most concerned right now about the screen size (I have one of those gigantic Palm OS-based watches) and battery life. Apple knows a little bit about custom battery design, sure, but how will the battery and the display impact the over all design of such a device and how will the software integrate with iOS running on an iPhone in your pocket. (I believe that the software APIs, or application program interface “hooks” have been slowly added to iOS for such a personal device over the life of iOS 6.)
Look, we all know that Apple has been looking at a watch-like device for a long time. The wearable computer sector is heating up. Just look at Google Glass for confirmation of that. So the question here is not “if” Apple will make a move in the wearables sector, it’s a matter of “when” will they feel ready to announce the product to the world.