Apple has applied for a trademark for “iWatch” in Japan, a patent official said on Monday, signalling the iPhone maker may be moving ahead with plans for a watch-like device as gadget makers turn their attention to wearable computers  ..

The trademark application, submitted on June 3 and released on the Japan Patent Office website on June 27, would cover computers, computer peripherals and wristwatches, the official said. He said it was unknown how long the application process would require ..

An Apple spokesman in Japan could not immediately be reached for comment ..

Speculation has mounted that Apple is preparing to launch an iWatch and CEO Tim Cook told a gathering of tech and media executives a month ago that wearable products were ripe for exploration, but added he was skeptical, including about Google’s recently unveiled Glass which combines a mobile computer and eyeglasses ..

“There’s nothing that’s going to convince a kid who has never worn glasses or a band or a watch to wear one, or at least I haven’t seen it,” Cook said ..

Wearable devices are considered a potential area for hit products as smartphones such as the iPhone and Samsung Electronics’s Galaxy series are losing their ability to impress consumers and investors ..

Samsung, which has leapfrogged Apple as the world’s leading smartphone maker, is also developing a wearable device similar to a wristwatch, a source with knowledge of the matter has said ..

The New York Times reported in February that Apple was experimenting with the design of a device similar to a wristwatch that would operate on the same iOS platform as its iPhone and iPad and would be made with curved glass ..

Following the revelation that Apple had applied for ‘iWatch’ in Japan, it appears that Apple has done so in Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey and Colombia as well ..

On Monday, reports emerged indicating that Cupertino giant had filed a trademark application for the ‘iWatch’ product name in Japan. Filings, spotted by various Internet users and websites, reveal that similar applications have been submitted to Intellectual property bodies in various other countries ..

According to the filing with Mexico’s Institute of Industrial Property, spotted first by 9to5Mac, Apple applied for the iWatch trademark under two categories pertaining to hardware and software of mobile devices. The application was submitted on June 3, though it was made public recently ..

Another filing with Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office, retrieved first by MacRumors, also reveals the same iWatch trademark with the colour of the device mentioned as Black ..

Besides these, Apple has also filed for the iWatch trademark in Turkey through an attorney on June 3 and in Russia during the same time period. A trademark filing submitted on June 4th in Colombia has also been spotted by a Twitter user ..

It’s interesting to note that all filings also include a graphic with the term iWatch depicted in upper case letters ..

The move signals that Apple is indeed working on a new wearable device and wants to secure the iWatch moniker in markets across the globe, inline with its other devices that have been christened in the same manner ..

Earlier this year, Bloomberg had reported that Apple’s so-called iWatch is expected to release this year and that the project is currently being fueled by the efforts of over 100 engineers being led by Apple design chief Jony Ive himself ..

A recent report by Apple Insider, also mentioned that Apple’s smart watch is likely to debut in 2014, quoting Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with KGI Securities who regularly offers predictions on future Apple products ..

Recently, Hon Hai Precision Industry, the company that uses the trade name Foxconn, demonstrated a new smart watch that can be connected with the iPhone. A fews days back, Sony officially launched SmartWatch 2 , the successor to its SmartWatch ..

It’s worth mentioning that companies like Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and LG, are all said to be working on bringing their own smart watch-like devices to the market ..

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