back to article Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch

Rumors that Apple will unveil a smartwatch this year became slightly more concrete on Tuesday when the news broke that Cupertino had been granted a patent for a wearable device that may or may not be called iTime. As detailed in US Patent 8,787,006, the device is "an electronic wristband to be worn on a wrist of a user," which …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please...

    tell me there is something original and special about the idea or function they are attempting to patent. Please. I wish to continue to hold hope there is not just a game of paper chasing going on in the courts over patenting existing ideas, products and technology...

    PS, I'd type this on a current smart watch, smart phone watch, bluetooth smart wrist device, touch enabled wrist mounted HID or my casio caculator watch, but I'm hard pressed for time and cannot decide which one to use. No doubt all these devices will disappear into the ether as soon as the patent surfaces in a court room?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please...

      Agreed, this 'patent' should be batted into the long grass and lost but it won't be because it is from apple.

    2. Tom 35

      Re: Please...

      They took all those old ideas and added "on a mobile device" to get new patents, now they can do it all over again with "on a wearable device".

    3. John Tserkezis

      Re: Please...

      "tell me there is something original and special about the idea or function they are attempting to patent."

      For one thing, there is no mention of a camera on the band in the patent. Because that would infringe on Samsung's pre-invented Gear. Which is odd for Apple to not claim prior art for themselves.

      As for the rest of it, now *that's* the Apple we know.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Please...

        So it's basically a patent for the offspring of an iPod nano and an electronic tag so beloved of our judicial system?

        Oh and "a "printed circuit substrate" (mysterious!)" is probably patentese for "interconnection wiring".

      2. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Samsung's pre-invented Gear

        The Apple patent was filed in 2011.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Samsung's pre-invented Gear

          Pity that Galaxy only released a smart phone watch in 2009 then... they should have patented it... without any phone in the watch! :P

          http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2422750,00.asp

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I for one appreciate the ability to visually spot an Apple user from afar. See an iTime user and avoid.

  3. ArmyCrow

    I'm curious...

    Having read through that it sounds to me that the separate electronic device is the phone, not the removable strap. If that's the case then they've effectively got a patent that blocks any and all other wrist 'watch' devices that link to a phone. This is as ridiculous as the patent they went for (didn't hear the result, if it's been announced yet) for electronic page turning to stop other devices pretending they're a paperback book.

    I'm now looking forward to another yawnathon court case with Samsung.

    1. Kunari

      Re: I'm curious...

      Agreed, this doesn't seem non-obvious, the old square iPod Nano's had that strap to turn them into a watch and this seems just a logical extension of that. Perhaps the strap having specific functions when docked with the "watch" part is the only thing innovative.

      Smart Watches have been discussed openly for years and used in numerous forms of fiction.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: I'm curious...

        Its a good way of doing this:

        Strap: Always on, low power, waterproof, data logging of pedometer/heartbeat etc. Simple alerts.

        Extra bit: More advanced functions, bigger display. Removed for charging, runnning, swimming etc. Will charge the smaller battery in the strap when in place.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm curious...

          I can understand that making such a thing is different than actually writing about it in sci-fi.

          But the fact of the matter is, most of these devices are made by combining existing parts, in different ways. As said, we have had mobile phone watches and smart watches for ages now... so that in and of it's self cannot be "new".

          However, just as fashion gets along well without patents, you could instead protect the design/feature/logo and brand name (hopefully with a real attachment of good construction and materials).

          Or you can patent a specific novel function or design... not sure they are here, as even power/cams/functions in the straps have been done before.

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Well beyond time <- {see what I did there} the rest of the world got a divorce from the USA iThink

    1. VinceH

      IMO, a better way to put it would have been: "I think it's iTime the rest of the world got a divorce from the USA"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iTime

    Really, an article that suggests a name based on something scribbled in a patent application?

    I think we can pretty sure it won't be called that, since telling time would be about 100th on the list of things people would buy one for.

    1. Benny

      Re: iTime

      I think you may have missed the point of the article...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: iTime

        Oh I know, the point of the article was yet another smartwatch related patent from Apple, which like all the others sheds no light on what the capabilities of the device they may eventually release will be.

        How is this patent any more interesting than the other half dozen or so that have been written about by everyone all over the internet for the past several years?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prior art?

    There are many products in the, ahem, "ladies isle" at the supermarket that look like this.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iYawn..

    I'm not an Apple fan, but I do appreciate their refined design - so I really hope this is not Apple's final design.

    I was hoping for something more ground breaking, especially in the screen department.. I'd like a flexible 3-4 inch screen wraps across the top part of my wrist. which will allow me to do something useful rather than just looking at the time or notification!, as for securing it, thats more tricky but may I suggest neoprene bracelet.

    Down vote if you agree ;) ..

  8. Michael Thibault

    Oh! Oh! Teacher, teacher!

    >The device could also use sensors to detect arm or wrist motions and perform actions accordingly.

    Brain bleach, please.

  9. Bob Merkin
    Pint

    NEW! From the makers of iPhone and Jawbone

    ... comes the iWatch U.P.!

    "Never before, in the history of mankind, have we had the opportunity to monitor our data with this level of precision," said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. "And by 'we' I of course mean 'Apple' and by 'our data' I mean 'all of the telemetry on our customers' bodily functions we can possibly record.'"

  10. SVV Silver badge

    Detecting arm and wrist motions?

    The device could also use sensors to detect arm or wrist motions and perform actions accordingly

    Thus presumably confirming electronically back to apple hq what most people I've spoken to think that the fashion victims who buy one of these pointless baubles really are.

  11. rjmnz
    Facepalm

    It's a Patent Jim, but not as we know it.

    This seems to be a design, not a technical innovation.

    Unfortunately in the USA what most of us would call a "Registered Design" is known as a "Design Patent". All you have to do is omit the word "Design" and it's "round rectangles at high noon."

  12. Champ

    Looks like Apple now have a patent that will let then sue Pebble out of business. Despite the fact that Apple haven't built anything yet, and Pebble have been shipping real devices for 18 months.

    The US patent system is truly broken beyond belief.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Patent filing date

      >> Jan 31, 2011 << .. long before the Pebble shipped and 2 years before the Patent I can find for the Galaxy Gear...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Re: Patent filing date

        >> Jan 31 2011 <<

        Still 6 years after this patent: (First hit in google) http://www.google.com/patents/US20070042821

        ... [looks at patent filling, sees Samsungs name]...

        Buhuhuhuhuha... one moment while I go outside to laugh profusely!

        [edit]

        I'm back... notice it also specifies detachable parts from the main "body"... though Apple note "strap" instead AFAIK. Also while it notes a bluetooth headset, the patent does also note an LCD display on the device.

  13. Peshman

    So, in the digital age...

    Where we have facial recognition software, and the ability to run database searches in a flash, it still takes 3 years to file a patent? Surely each jurisdiction has it's own patent office which has the initial patent application scanned and stored in a database that can be cross referenced? If not, why not? Wouldn't a simple fuzzy logic search pick up any similar patents already in existence or any that might have already recently been applied for?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get the moaning

    If the other companies out there got their patents in no time or had the original idea to protect their products then there wouldn't be such an issue. It really isn't that hard. Have an idea, protect it first then build it. Or get to the market first and be prepared to pay out for infringement.

    1. The Mole

      Re: I don't get the moaning

      The moaning is simple. A patant should be for something novel and non-obvious to someone skilled in the art. Companies should only apply for patents if they believe this is true and the patent office should only grant patents if they believe this is true.

      Unfortunately what the patent office thinks is novel and non-obvious appears to differ wildly from those who consider themselves skilled in the subject matter at hand. The moaning comes from observing companies appearing to take advantage of the discrepancy and with the money to be able to afford to do so.

      Pebble (for instance) probably wouldn't have spent vital start up money patenting something that isn't novel or non-obvious - putting more advanced electronics into smaller form factors and talking to your wrist is something talked about in both fiction and non-fiction for decades.

    2. -v(o.o)v-

      Re: I don't get the moaning

      You seem to have mistaken that a US patent is a simple thing to do. It is not.

  15. Hellcatm

    so apple is putting all these sensors in the band. What usually breaks first on most watches? The band. So I'm guessing this won't be much different. The band will break, but you won't be able to just replace the band so you'll have to get it fixed. Also with all this stuff in the band I can see other issues happening.

    Sad things is apple fans will buy this like they buy the iphone and ipad. It'll break, functionality won't be great but it'll sell well. apple fans are hopeless and mind numb. "oooh, it has an apple logo, must buy". That's the downfall of electronics.

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