Amidst all the news of Android Wear watches from Samsung, LG and Motorola lurks a dark horse: Apple's highly anticipated smart watch.
Dubbed the iWatch by the digerati, it has not only seen the creation of endless concept designs by graphic designers with plenty of time and imagination on their hands, but has forced Samsung, Google et al to strike first with Android Wear - and Samsung's previous Gear Watch models.
While the idea of smart watches has been around for more than two decades, with plenty of calculator and databank watches from Casio over the years, and previous 3G videophone watches like LG's GD-910 from a couple of years ago, the market for wearables is only just now starting to blossom.
Now, thanks to Apple filing a new US patent, we have a better idea of what Apple's iWatch might look like, how it might work, and what it might end up being called, which is iTime.
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|Apple iTime Patent Application Image|
Apple says its invention "pertains to an electronic wristwatch", which in one "embodiment" has an "electronic wristband" that "can provide addition electrical circuitry or devices that can be made available for use as or with an electronic device".
Apple speaks of multiple "embodiments", giving the example of one where the "electronic device can be a mobile electronic device that can be removably couple to the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices".
Apple's patent continues, stating: "Advantageously, the electronic device can utilise the additional electrical circuitry or devices provided within the electronic wristband to augment the capabilities of the electronic device.
"In another embodiment, the electronic device can be integrally formed with the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices".
One of the line-drawn images looks like the older square iPod nano that featured watch faces and had watch bands made for it.
The patent text clearly suggests multiple iWatches are coming, and that the band with the receptacle to hold a removable iPod nano shaped device.
Another image shows an iTime iWatch with a curved screen, giving credence to rumours that at least one of the iWatches will have a slightly curved 2.5-inch display, which is much larger than the 1.65-inch displays we see on current Android Wear smart watches from Samsung and LG.
Another image shows the blank face of the watch with the designation "iTime" as we saw further up the page.
All-in-all, the excitement factor for Apple's watch will surely now hit an all time new level of hype and anticipation.
The timing of Apple's patent release is also exquisite, coming as it does on the PR launch date of LG's G Watch, on-sale now from the Google Play store and due in Australian retail stores alongside the launch of LG's G3 smartphone from August 4.
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|A curved screen for Apple's iTime?|
Apple's iTime - or is it still iWatch - is likely to be launched alongside the iPhone 6 sometime in September, although whether or not this happens is clearly a "watch this space" situation.
Full details of the patent, including images, are available at the USPTO site.