Patent documents published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on 22 July have revealed details of a device referred to as 'iTime' in a patent granted to Apple for a "wrist-worn electronic device".
The documents for patent number US 8,787,006 B2 contain diagrams of the device, along with a list of potential features the device could include.
"In one embodiment, the electronic device can be a mobile electronic device that can be removably coupled to the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices," the documents said. "The mobile electronic display can include a display and be independently useable apart from the electronic watchband."
The 'iTime' patent details have been made public only a couple of months after the world's largest watch maker, Swatch, tried to block Apple's iWatch trademarks over concerns that consumers would confuse it with its own ISwatch line of electronic watches.
Apple has trademarked the term 'iWatch' in several countries, including Russia, Mexico, and Japan, with the company updating its iWatch trademark to cover class 14, a category for jewellery, watches, and clocks.
Reports suggest that Apple's anticipated 'iWatch' device could be introduced as early as September. However, Apple has not yet publicly acknowledges that it is working on a smartwatch.
The market is already awash with smartwatch devices, including Samsung's Gear Live, LG's G Watch, and the Kickstarter crowd funded Pebble, which has been around since 2013.