Apple Inc. filed patent paperwork for a wearable watch prototype dubbed iTime back in 2011, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office documents
released this week.
The newly granted patent papers — which list Albert J. Golko, Mathias W. Schmidt, and Felix Alvarez as the inventors — were posted online Tuesday.
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"An incoming phone call, a text message, a social network post, or a news feed directed to a user’s electronic device (e.g., mobile phone) can cause a notification to be provided to a nearby electronic wristband of the user," read the filing's description of the device, The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch blog reported.
Users with iTime will also be able to connect to other devices.
"For example, when a portable media player is playing a media item, the portable media player can be controlled by one or more user controls made available by the electronic wristwatch," the patent document stated, according to Market Watch.
Forbes' Eric Mack said it appears that Apple
is marketing iTime as an electronic "wristband" to relate to today's tech-savvy users.
"Because the patent application dates back to a time before the world even knew the iPhone 4S and Siri, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that it centers largely around a 'smart wristband' sort of concept in which the actual watch band contains circuitry and sensors and acts as a sort of docking station for a small media player like an iPod Nano, allowing the whole setup to connect to a nearby computer or smartphone," Mack wrote.
"What's really interesting about this particular patent is the final drawing included, which details an alternate, stand-alone smartwatch design that doesn't rely on an inserted media player for its central unit," Mack added.
Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Bernstein Research, told MarketWatch that Apple will likely reveal plans for iTime this fall.
"Apple is expected to announce an 'iWatch' in the fall, which would be the first new product category introduction since the iPad four years ago and the first new product since CEO Tim Cook took the helm," Sacconaghi said.
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