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Apple granted patent for “iTime” smartwatch

With companies like Samsung and Google hopping aboard the “wearable” train, people have been wondering when Apple will get a ticket to ride, too.

itimeRumors of an Apple “iWatch” go as far back as February of last year when Bloomberg reported that Apple had a team of 100 designers working on a “wristwatch-like device” with the functionality of an iPhone and iPad.

Last Sunday, the fervor for the idea resurfaced with the approval of a smartwatch patent originally filed by Apple on July 20, 2011. The patent includes multiple details on the potential wrist-bound product, including SMS, media playback, and connectivity with the iPhone and Mac for messages and alerts. Possible hardware specifications include an accelerometer and gyroscope, which when attached to an arm open up a myriad of possibilities for unique gestures and input. One example noted is shaking your wrist to dismiss or accept a call. GPS and NFC functionality is also mentioned.

As with most device patents, some of the most exciting stuff comes from the various illustrations of potential product designs. While the name “iTime” doesn’t seem to appear anywhere in the text, one illustration shows the name on the watch’s display. One drawing shows the display as being detachable. Removing it from the wrist band yields a functioning iPod nano-like device, possibly hinting at some modular connectivity.

While a 3-year-old patent is not concrete proof of an actual product release, its evidence that Apple’s got part of their mind on wearables. Many hope the timing of the patent’s recent reveal is no coincidence and that Apple will be revealing their wearable product line somewhere in the near future. Apple traditionally has an event in September to show off new mobile hardware, but it remains to be seen if the “iTime” will be among the line-up of new iPhones and iPads.

By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra

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