Apple Inc has applied for a trademark for "iWatch" in Japan, a patent official said on Monday, signaling 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 Inc'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 Co'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.
Apple plans Nevada solar farm in clean energy push for data centres
Apple Inc said it plans to build a new solar farm with NV Energy Inc for power supply to its new data center in Reno, Nevada, a major step towards its goal of having its data centers run on renewable energy.
Apple and other technology companies such as Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp, that build and run computer server farms have come under criticism for their high consumption of electricity and other resources.
These data centers cater to an explosion in Internet traffic, streaming content through mobile devices and hosting of services to corporations.
The new solar farm will provide power to Sierra Pacific Power Co's electric grid that serves Apple's data center and when completed will generate about hours 43.5 million kilowatt of clean energy a year, Apple said in a statement.
Apple already runs its largest data center in the U.S. on solar power. The center in Maiden, North Carolina produces 167 million kilowatt hours, the power equivalent of 17,600 homes for one year, from a 100-acre solar farm and fuel cell installations provided by Silicon Valley startup Bloom Energy.