New Apple Watch Band Patents May Point to Future Features

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Photo Source: Patently Apple

According to Patently Apple, Apple has been awarded some interesting patents related to new technologies that may potentially find their way to Watch bands.

First off, and most interesting in my opinion, is a patent related to a new biometric sensor that would be embedded into an Apple Watch Band. This sensor would recognize the skin patterns of the user as a unique identifier to securely unlock the device. The Watch is one of Apple’s few devices with an HMI that doesn’t yet have any kind of biometric security features. If nothing else, this patent filing and aware shows that Apple working on that problem, even if it means thinking outside of the box.

Apple was also awarded another Watch Band patent related to self-tightening. While this may seem silly on the surface, it would give Apple another layer of physical notifications beyond the Watch’s current Taptic Engine. Such a band would be able to give you a slight squeeze for the same kinds of events that we currently get a tap for. While this may be of more limited value than many potential new Watch features, it would allow users to differentiate certain notifications in a way that isn’t intrusive. It is certainly a novel and creative approach to notifications.

A third awarded Watch Band patent deals with LEDs embedded in the band that can display additional information beyond the screen.

Photo Source: Patently Apple

Examples include displaying progress bars, such as the Watch’s well-known Activity Circles, or other icons. Considering the Watch’s limited screen real estate. this looks like an interesting way to extend visual functionality beyond it.

You always have to take Apple’s patents with a grain of salt, because they file on pretty much anything they look at or even think about working on. Just because a patent is awarded does NOT mean that we will ever see the features included in a future product. However, what they do give us is a tiny peek behind the curtain to see what Apple is cooking up.

Even if these three Watch Band patents don’t give us direct evidence into new products, they do shed light on the devices and technologies that Apple is focusing their time on, and that does have value. The fact that the Apple Watch currently figures prominently in their patent portfolio is definitely worth noting.

 


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