Apple gets smartwatch patent

SAN FRANCISCO - A US patent made public on Tuesday bolstered rumors that Apple has designs on a smartwatch.

"The invention pertains to an electronic wristwatch," said a summary in Apple patent paperwork on record with the US Patent and Trade Office.

The patent describes an wrist band, possible with a touch screen, configured to connect wirelessly to a mobile device such as a smartphone.

Disclosure of the patent added fuel to talk that California-based Apple intends to weigh into the blossoming wearable computing market with a smart watch.

Apple has remained tight-lipped about product plans, but chief executive Tim Cook has stated repeatedly that impressive new products were in the works, and that he sees the wrist as a preferred spot for a wearable computing gadget.

"The central portion can include a touch screen display, control circuitry and a battery," the smartwatch patent paperwork stated.

"The touch screen display can be configured to present visual information to the user and to receive user input from the user."

Features in the wristband could include sensors for tracking motion and even being able to give it commands with gestures, according to patent paperwork originally filed at the end of January in 2011.

A diagram included in the application referred to the device as "iTime."

Analysts along with Apple devotees have been eagerly watching the company for a new "big thing" that promises to be a must-have device.

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