Apple Patent Details Modular Smart Bands for Apple Watch

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has filed a patent application hinting that the company could be working on modular smart bands for the Apple Watch, allowing users to add functions such as wireless charging battery packs and GPS receivers to an existing timepiece (via AppleInsider).

    The application, titled "Modular functional band links for wearable devices", was published yesterday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and details strap designs with embedded electronic devices that connect via the Apple Watch's diagnostics port.

    Rather than building complex components into the Apple Watch chassis, the designs propose breaking functional units out into a range of separate watch band 'links' that can work serially or in parallel.


    A number of Apple Watch accessories with added functionality are described in the patent, including batteries, displays, processors, electricity generators, GPS sensors, cameras, thermometers, blood pressure sensors, sweat sensors and speakers.

    Arranged as links, the modules would connect to each other and to the 6-pin diagnostics port on the Apple Watch. In some cases, links also act as an external port for accepting electronic components, such as a SIM card or powered memory module.

    Even before the launch of the Apple Watch, the inclusion of a diagnostics port on the device fueled speculation that Apple is planning to bring smart band accessories to market at some point in the future. However, if the patent is indicative of upcoming Apple Watch products, such a significant extension of functionality would more likely be held back for inclusion in a second-generation device. Apple Watch 2 is expected to launch later in the year.

    Apple refreshed its Apple Watch lineup on March 21, 2016, introducing new spring colors in yellows, blues, and pinks, along with new Nylon Apple Watch bands.

    Article Link: Apple Patent Details Modular Smart Bands for Apple Watch
  2. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    The hell with the watch bands. How about some Macs.
  3. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
  4. smacrumon macrumors 68030


    Jan 15, 2016
  5. Oblivious.Robot, Apr 1, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016

    Oblivious.Robot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2014
    I hope this will be available to the current edition users too!

    Edit - lol, shouldn't have typed edition (I wish I was a Saudi Prince), but first generation users! :D
  6. RockSpider macrumors 6502a

    Sep 18, 2014
    What about the new spring colors dont they get you excited.
  7. joueboy macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2008
    Well bring it on! The only reason I don't have the iWatch yet is the GPS. Yes, I don't want to carry my iPhone 6s Plus with me while I'm running.
  8. SteveJobs2.0 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2012
    Samsung watch has a camera module on the band so it could work.

    I could also see people walking down the street blasting music from their watch thanks to speaker bands. You would use hand motions to control playback. It would be called, "iSymphony"
  9. Mike MA macrumors 68000

    Mike MA

    Sep 21, 2012
    Just introduce them alongside Apple Watch 2 and I'm sold.
  10. 73b macrumors regular


    Aug 22, 2014
    East Coast
  11. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    Yeh, I can hardly stop touching myself:rolleyes:
  12. jblagden macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2013
    The funny thing about this is that Pebble started working on this sort of thing a year or so ago.
  13. Pbrutto macrumors 6502a


    Apr 21, 2015
    Eastern PA
    But but but....the port is only for diagnostics!
  14. T-Will macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2008
    Hey Apple, how about not charging $50 bucks for woven nylon bands that use plastic lugs that don't slide into the watch smoothly and feel like a Chinese knock-off.
  15. TonyC28 macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2009
  16. RockSpider macrumors 6502a

    Sep 18, 2014
    Isnt there a song about that, maybe Apple should use it in their advertising.
  17. danmart macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2015
    Lancs, UK
    I don't understand how they can patent a concept like this when other people are already producing smart bands?

    What is the threshold for receiving a patent in the US?
  18. paulopadopa macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2012
    Without reading the patent, it appears this is a patent for a modular solution. Not bands with additional features.
  19. Jakexb macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2014
    You can't patent an entire concept. It's the particular embodiment of the concept.

    Otherwise someone could have just patented "smartphones" and no one else would be able to make one.
  20. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    This application has as its primary uniqueness, the idea of each module having a function identifier:

    1. A band system for a wearable device, comprising: a wearable device; and multiple modular functional band links that each include an electronic component and electrically and mechanically connect to at least one of the wearable device or another of the multiple modular functional band links; wherein the wearable device: receives identifiers from each of the multiple modular functional band links; determines functionality available via the multiple modular functional band links utilizing the received identifiers; and communicates with one of the multiple modular functional band links to utilize the determined functionality.

    Although, frankly, that would seem to be something that any current modular band designer would do. Looks like another Apple attempt to grab a patent for a general concept that no one else thought should deserve a patent.

    That observation aside, it's interesting to read their lengthy list of possible modules, which contain no big surprises (although the trackball seems unusual for Apple):

    The band system of claim 1, wherein the electronic component comprises at least one of a battery, an input device, an output device, a haptic device, a display, a sensor, an actuator, a processor, an electricity generator, a photovoltaic cell, a camera, a photo sensor, an indicator, an accelerometer, a speedometer, a compass, a gyroscope, a global positioning system, a thermometer, a hygrometer, a blood pressure sensor, a sweat sensor, a magnetic field sensor, an antenna, a vibrator, a speaker, a track wheel, a track ball, a touch sensor, a button, a slider, or a force sensor.

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