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Apple secures patent for iTime smartwatch

An Apple patent for a smartwatch has been revealed, with the device being called the iTime at one point rather than the iWatch (the latter being what the rumoured device has always been called in previous speculation).

Spotted by Apple Insider, the patent largely refers to a smart wristband which can be attached to a portable media device (like the iPod nano, so this will be the watch bit, in other words).

This central device will slot into and connect with different straps, and each strap will integrate different sensors (such as an accelerometer, NFC, a GPS module, or haptic feedback mechanism) to provide various types of functionality to the user.

Furthermore, the smartwatch will be able to wirelessly hook up to your iPhone, iPad and computer, to receive notifications and so forth. It will also be able to do clever things such as notify you if you've left your iPhone behind when you're leaving the house.

The patent also details another version of the device, whereby the "electronic device can be integrally formed with the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices". In other words, a traditional smartwatch as opposed to the modular design. Apple is covering both bases with the patent.

The patent also details gesture controls, and it mentions using a shake of the wrist to, for example, accept an incoming call via the smartwatch, and two shakes to decline the call.

The iWatch – sorry, the iTime, as the patent names it in one diagram – is expected to enter mass production late this year, at least according to the rumour mongers. (Incidentally, as a name, we prefer iWatch, it has to be said – iTime just sounds a bit... strange).

Please note: The above image is a concept drawing only. No official press shots have yet been released.