A patent application recently published in the US Patent and Trademark Office shows Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is likely working on a smartwatch.

Apple iWatch Concept

Apple sees fitness friendly watch

Since pedometers are nothing new, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s vision could use motion to determine the location on a user’s body and count steps accordingly. Utilizing a wrist-mounted system, Apple can track steps with more accuracy than, say, an iPhone. There have been numerous rumors for some time that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has health-related products in the works. Given the competition from companies such as Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930), which already has a smartwatch with fitness features. This watch features a 1.63 inch 320 x 320p display, 4GB of internal storage, and 512MB of RAM.

CNET explained, “Apple’s method for detecting steps is actually somewhat sophisticated. The technology analyzes “peak-to-peak threshold” to determine when a person takes a step. Based on the time elapsed between those thresholds, it can infer when another step was taken, according to the patent application. The technology can also automatically determine whether the pedometer is being worn on the wrist.”

Apple has yet to confirm whether or not the company plans to release the anticipated iWatch. Tim Cook (chief executive officer of Apple) did say the company was heavily interested in wrist products. He also said Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will join new markets this year.

A close look at Apple’s new patent

The application described the patent in the patent: “In some implementations, optimizations for detecting steps when a pedometer is worn at a user’s wrist are described. In some implementations, a threshold crossing step detection method can be enhanced for wrist locations by counting the number of positive peaks between comparison threshold crossings, adjusting a minimum peak-to-peak threshold for qualifying threshold crossings, and inferring a second step based on the amount of time between threshold crossings. In some implementations, the pedometer can automatically determine that the pedometer is being worn on a user’s wrist.”

The iWatch will likely debut this year.