Apple has applied to trademark the 'iWatch' name in Japan, adding yet more strength to rumours that it's working on a smartwatch device.
According to a June 3 filing with the Japanese Patent Office, which was then made public last week, Apple wants to protect the iWatch name. It follows reports last month that a similar trademark application had been launched in Russia.
Of course, as we pointed out at that time, this doesn't necessarily mean that the Apple Watch is imminent - or even that Apple will go with iWatch as the final name for its rumoured entry to the smartwatch market.
Companies often seek to trademark a variety of names and terms around a possible hardware launch. These can include popular terms that are used to refer to a device in advance of its release, but which don't end up being used once the final device is on the market.
It's believed that Apple has a 100-strong team of designers working on a smartwatch concept. This might utilise biometric technology for secure user identification and beyond.
The most that Apple has said on the matter came from the D11 conference last month, when Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that "wearable technology is incredibly interesting. It could be a profound area," adding that "it’s an area that’s ripe for exploration, its ripe for us to get excited about. Lots of companies will play in this space.”
Next, read our review of the Kickstarter-funded Pebble smartwatch.