Apple Inc., the world's most valuable technology company, is seeking a trademark for "iWatch" in Japan as rival Samsung Electronics Co. readies its own wearable computing device.
The iPhone maker is seeking protection for the name, which is listed in a category for products such as a handheld computer or watch, according to a filing with the Japan Patent Office that was made public last week. Takashi Takebayashi, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Apple, didn't respond to a request for comment.
Apple's shares have retreated more than 40 percent from a record high in September amid concern that Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has taken too long to deliver a new breakthrough product to help make up for stiffer iPhone competition. The company has a team of about 100 product designers working on a wristwatchlike device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad, two people familiar with the company's plans said in February.
"We can expect a full TV at Apple in the future, maybe a watch, and who knows what other future devices," Tavis McCourt, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc., wrote in a research report today. He upgraded the shares to strong buy with a $600 target price. "New connected devices, whether they are TVs, cars or other devices are likely to be first adopted by high income consumers, over whom Apple dominates globally."
Samsung, the world's biggest maker of smartphones, is developing a wristwatch, the company said in March. Sony Corp. has sold its SmartWatch, which wirelessly connects to phones using Google Inc.'s Android operating system and allows users to take calls and reply to emails or texts, for more than a year.
Apple rose 2.8 percent to $407.69 at 10:54 a.m. in New York, for the biggest increase in six weeks. Shares of the Cupertino, California-based company had slumped 25 percent this year before today, compared with a 13 percent gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 index.