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iWatch Gets Closer as Apple Patents Wrist Pedometer

Apple still hasn't announced plans to release an iWatch, but the evidence of one continues to mount. The iPhone maker recently patented a special type of pedometer that can locate itself on the user's body, an invention that could find its way into Apple's first wearable device. 

According to a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filing from Mar. 13, Apple's "Wrist Pedometer Step Detection" patent describes "optimizations for detecting steps when a pedometer is worn at a user's wrist." The patented technology is meant to accurately track the amount of steps a user takes, whether they wear their device around their wrist, arm or ankle. 

MORE: Apple iWatch Rumors: Features, Specs and Release Date

According to the USPTO listing, a future Apple smartwatch could use frequencies to determine where on the body the device is being worn. The patent also includes support for inputs like a thumb wheel, USB port and stylus. Unsurprisingly, Apple's newly-patented tech could "include the functionality of an MP3 player, such as an iPod." 

Some analysts say an iWatch could be revealed later this year. A recent New York Times report notes that Apple is considering a solar-powered battery for its wearable, while previous findings suggest that the iWatch could ship with a flexible OLED display and slap-bracelet design. The smartwatch is expected to run a fully-functional version of iOS, with the ability to interact with both your iPhone and devices around the home. 

A devout gamer and tech enthusiast, Mike Andronico joined the Laptop team in July 2013. With a B.A. in Journalism from Purchase College and experience at GameNGuide, Examiner and 2D-X, Mike tackles everything from iPhone rumors to in-depth hardware reviews.