Apple Applies to Trademark ‘iWatch’ Name in Japan

apple-iwatch-qtoothApple has filed an application to trademark the “iWatch” name in Japan, the first known patent application for the name in any country. The application was filed early last month but was not announced until last week. It has not yet been approved.

The patent application may or may not signal that Japan will be first to get an Apple iWatch, but there are compelling reasons for Apple to focus on Japan when it comes to wrist wear. According to Digital Luxury Group, about 50% of Japan’s online searches for luxury watches came from mobile phones in 2011, versus 17% of all searches worldwide for luxury watches. So many Japanese buyers of high-end watches are already very comfortable with mobile devices. And Japan is a major exporter to China, which has become the world’s top market for luxury watches.

Japan’s Sony has already launched a SmartWatch, which is compatible with Android phones, and last month it upgraded its product offering with the SmartWatch 2, which features more apps, a high-resolution display, longer battery life, and NFC. NFC (near field communication) enables wearers of the watch to share data with the Android smartphones by tapping the watch to the phone.

The other major connected wristwatch on the market is Pebble, made by a Kickstarter company which raised an unprecedented $10 million dollars in one month. Pebble is a Silicon Valley startup that manufactures its watches in China. They run Android and iOS apps. Until now Pebble watches have only been available online, and buyers have to pre-order and wait for their watch to ship. But today 9To5Mac reported that the Pebble watch is coming to Best Buy stores as soon as this weekend.

Nike also makes a smart watch, the Nike FuelBand. Apple CEO Tim Cook wears a FuelBand, which uses sensors to track a user’s movement throughout the day and report on their activity level.

via RCR U.S. Wireless News.

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