This morning the folks over at AppleInsider discovered that Apple was granted a patent today for the iTime, which can only be described as a device-connected smartwatch that offers advanced functionality like arm and wrist gestures, as well as advanced proximity sensing, through a sensor-laden smart strap.
But unlike the all-in-one smartwatch devices already revealed by Samsung and LG, the iTime will actually feature two main components: the aforementioned smart strap, which can apparently be swapped out to change functionality, and a small touchscreen media player reminiscent of the sixth-generation iPod Nano, which is mentioned by name in the patent.
The strap itself would introduce more advanced features like GPS, haptic feedback, arm and wrist gesture sensing, and even wireless communications. But it's not clear if the user needs to swap between multiple straps depending on the functionality they're after.
The hardware specifics in the patent seem to describe how the smartwatch will function but it's important to note that in the past Apple has trademarked alternate names for its products to help maintain secrecy before the official launch. So whether or not we'll all be strapping the iTime to our wrists come autumn remains to be seen. [USPTO via AppleInsider]