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The “iWatch” moniker, made up by the tech world for Apple’s rumored smartwatch, is getting a dose of legitimacy.

Apple is currently working on trademarking the “iWatch” name in Japan, Bloomberg reports, based on recent filings with the Japan Patent Office. Previously, we’ve seen unconfirmed reports that Apple is also trying to trademark the name in Russia.

Even though Apple is seeking to protect the “iWatch” name, that doesn’t mean it will actually use it for a future smartwatch. Apple could just be protecting its gadget naming scheme. But seriously, it seems like a wasted opportunity not to use “iWatch.”

The smartwatch is core to the wearables trend, which is hitting big this year. We’ll be debating the future of wearables at our big MobileBeat event in San Francisco next week. Buy your ticket now!

Rumors of an upcoming Apple smartwatch have been swirling since late 2012 (catch them all here), which appeared to include a combination of some very wishful thinking by gadget fans as well as some potential leaks from Apple itself. The device is expected to extend functionality from the iPhone and iPad to your wrist. Just as with other smartwatches, you’ll likely be able to see notifications, control your music, and more — but Apple may once again redefine a nascent gadget category with a twist on its design.

Current smartwatches like the Pebble and Sony’s recently announced SmartWatch 2 combine square-shaped screens with typical watch bands. They’re functional, but still resemble dorky calculator watches. Apple, on the other hand, is reportedly exploring curved glass for its smartwatch, thanks to new technology from Corning.

It’s worth pointing out that Apple pushed Corning to develop its Gorilla Glass product, which made it possible to have glass-covered smartphones and tablet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple push glass materials forward once again with the iWatch.

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