After months of speculation and coy denials by Apple and Apple executives, the Cupertino company sought a patent for an "iWatch" in Japan last week.
The news came from a June 3 filing with the Japan Patent Office, according to Bloomberg News. A spokesman for Apple in Japan didn't respond for a comment.
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If the news is true, and Apple is working on a smartphone worn on one's wrist, it will be a new product that could revitalize the company and boost stock prices. Despite denials and evasion by Apple executives about the smartwatch, a "breakthrough" product is needed, analysts say.
“We can expect a full TV at Apple in the future, maybe a watch, and who knows what other future devices,” Tavis McCourt, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc., wrote in a report advocating to buy Apple shares. “New connected devices, whether they are TVs, cars or other devices are likely to be first adopted by high income consumers, over whom Apple dominates globally.”
The need is never more than now, as Samsung -- now the world's biggest maker of smartphones -- is also creating a wrist-worn smartphone. Sony also has a SmartWatch, and other manufacturers have similar products.
So far there hasn't been a breakaway hit, however, with Apple's brand, the iWatch could prove a game-changer.