Apple Using its Head

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been granted a patent for headgear, similar to Google Glass, but according to Apple's filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the device is useful for surgeons, police officers, firefighters, and engineers, too.

The device was described as a "peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays" that isn't intended to be as mobile as Google Glass, but rather a more static device, perhaps used in a helmet or visor.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will start selling its glasses early next year for a price tag of $1,500.

Meanwhile, Apple’s component suppliers in Asia are reportedly preparing for mass production of a new tablet computer with a smaller screen. The current iPad has a 9.7-inch screen, but Apple’s competitors, including Google’s new Nexus 7 and Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) hugely popular Kindle Fire, have 7-inch screens.

The new iPad will reportedly boast an 8-inch screen, and be produced in September for a launch in October, just in time for back-to-school and holiday shopping.

Analysts say a smaller tablet could help Apple maintain its dominant share of the tablet market at a time when competition is intensifying.

More broadly, the overall stock market is looking flat in the pre-market. After three up sessions, traders are waiting for the latest clues on the health of the U.S. job market with weekly jobless claims and ADP’s private payroll numbers for June.

The key monthly jobs report from the government is due out tomorrow.