Apple Granted 'iTime' Patent for Wearable Mobile Electronic Device (Plus Wristband)

Apple was granted a patent on a smart watch dubbed "iTime" on Tuesday. The patent describes a wristband with embedded electronics that can be accessed by "a mobile electronic device" [via AppleInsider]. It describes several implementations, including versions where the mobile electronic device can be removed from the wristband. The patent was filed in July 2011 and granted on Tuesday, July 22nd.

The patent includes mentions of biomedical sensors, a GPS module, NFC (a technology Apple hasn't otherwise embraced), Bluetooth, WiFi, and methods of providing haptic feedback. It's not specified which features would be powered by the wristband and which would come from the mobile electronic device.

The use of "iTime" in the patent filing is interesting. For one thing, it appears only once, in an illustration included with the filing. It's not used in the wording of the patent or in the abstract. That image:

Apple Patent Illustration

"iTime" is a different name than "iWatch," the name the media has given Apple's expected foray into wearable computing. Apple has never used "iWatch," but the company did register trademarks for the term in several international markets.

That doesn't necessarily mean that Apple will use it, however, and even using "iTime" in a patent filing means next to nothing. It's intriguing, however, especially to a world starved for hints on Apple's next move.

As such, the timing of this patent is fueling even more speculation. Apple is expected to launch the iWatch/iTime/iWearable/iHealth/iKnowRight? during a media event this fall, possibly during the same even used to introduce the next iPhone.