Apple has filed to trademark the term "iWatch" in Japan. Naoko Fujimura and Takashi Amano of Bloomberg report:
The maker of iPhones is seeking protection for the name which is categorized as being for products including a handheld computer or watch device, according to a June 3 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 message left at his office seeking comment on the application.
Bloomberg also triples down on their rumor, from February, of 100 product designers at Apple working on the wearable device popularly referred to as "iWatch".
As to the term being filed for in Japan, given how much time, effort, and money Apple's put into securing i-prefaced product names and domains in the past, including ones they never actually used, like the iSlate, it's impossible to draw any conclusions from the process itself.
iMore has previously heard that the iWatch project is indeed moving forward at Apple as well. Like patents, however, it makes sense for Apple to grab anything and everything they can, even if it's only to keep such terms out of the hands of other companies, squatters, and competitors.
As an actual product, an iWatch would be to a watch what an iPhone was to a phone -- something that does far, far more, but packaged in a way that makes it understandable to the mainstream. In that context, "iWatch" does make a lot of sense, but is it the best alternative? Could Apple use "iPod" instead? Or something else entirely?