By Daisuke Wakabayashi
TOKYO--Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL -1.79% has filed a trademark application for "iWatch" in Japan, fueling speculation that the U.S. firm may be preparing to introduce a new watch-like device.
The trademark application was filed on June 3 and made public by Japan's Patent Office on June 27. The application was filed under a product category for a computer or watch device. An official at the Patent Office said the application needs to go through a formal examination process before it can be approved.
An Apple spokesman in Tokyo was not immediately available for comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Apple was working on a watch-like device that would perform some smartphone functions, according to people briefed on the effort. In May, speaking at an All Things Digital conference, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said the market for wearable computing is ripe for innovation, noting that the wrist was a natural place for such a device.
Wearable computing, which includes products like Google Inc.'s Glass eyewear, is considered by many as the next frontier for consumer electronics. However, there remain significant obstacles such as battery life, ease of use, and optimal form factor.
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