Apple Watch Bands With Self-Tightening, Skin Texture Authentication, and LED Progress Bar Detailed in Patents

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today granted Apple several patents for smart Apple Watch bands with features such as biometric authentication, self-tightening, and an LED progress indicator, as noted by Patently Apple.

Apple Watch with biometric sensor

The first patent describes an Apple Watch band with a sensor that can authenticate the wearer based on patterns in their wrist's skin texture:
More particularly, skin texture cracks are generally warmer than the surrounding skin, and hair is cooler than the surrounding skin. By using an IR thermal image sensor as the wrist biometric sensor, hair can be distinguished, thermally, from skin texture cracks by temperature.
This feature would eliminate the need to enter a passcode on the Apple Watch or a paired iPhone to unlock the watch.

The second patent describes a self-tightening Apple Watch band. If the wearer is running or working out, for example, the band could automatically tighten in order to ensure it has a snug fit on the wrist while exercising. Upon completion of the physical activity, the band would then automatically loosen.

Apple Watch users would be able to set locations where the band automatically tightens upon arrival, such as a gym.

In other examples, the band could automatically tighten to notify a user of an upcoming turn while walking, driving, or swimming; to help the wearer count repetitions while weight lifting; or to notify the wearer that they have reached certain distance intervals while running, such as every mile.

A self-tightening Apple Watch band

The self-tightening band could also be part of a two-factor authentication system on the Apple Watch, as described in the patent:
For example, if a user wishes to access financial details hosted on a banking website, the banking website may require both the user's credentials and a verification of a number of tightening-loosening patterns sent to a wearable electronic device previously authenticated by the banking website...

In one example, a tactile pattern may be a series of five squeezes of the user's wrist (e.g., tighten and loosen in sequence). The user may thereafter enter "5" to gain access to the banking website.
The third patent describes an Apple Watch band with an LED indicator that would visualize the progress of an activity or task, such as completion of Walk, Stand, and Exercise rings. The indicator could also serve as an easy way to check an Apple Watch's remaining battery life at a glance.

Apple Watch bands with various LED indicators

Apple is hosting a special event at Steve Jobs Theater next Tuesday, where it is widely expected to unveil new iPhone and Apple Watch models. While a seasonal band refresh is expected, there have been no rumors or leaks about smart bands.

Keep in mind that Apple is granted dozens of patents every week, and many of the inventions do not see the light of day. Patents are also very detailed, encompassing many possible ideas, even ones that Apple might not have any plans to advance. So, whether any of these bands come to fruition remains to be seen.

Article Link: Apple Watch Bands With Self-Tightening, Skin Texture Authentication, and LED Progress Bar Detailed in Patents
 

Jimmy Bubbles

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2008
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This is interesting, although, I don't know why that would warrant a "caution" warning on buying the current model. Would Apple really change the form factor already of the S4?
 

Pakaku

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Aug 29, 2009
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It's a bit trivial and people will no doubt be going "just tighten it yourself!!!", but if I'm already paying hundreds (or thousands) of dollars just for a watch, and one which is basically an appendix to a potentially thousand-dollar phone, I'd think this idea would be complimentary to the product
 

Will.O.Bie

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2016
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When this watch is available for purchase, they'll be here complaining about battery life, coz it supposed to last 18 days without a charge right?

I really like all these cool features and innovation, but as I mentioned, people will complain about battery life.
 

jerryk

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Nov 3, 2011
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Self tightening? Usually I end up loosening my watch when exercising.

Also, don't people change their bands depending on what they are doing to give it a different look. If these bands cost a lot it could be expensive to have bands for exercising, a night on the town, informal event, and formal events.
 
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cajun67

macrumors regular
Aug 29, 2011
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I adjust the Velcro strap on my Apple Watch several times a day, depending on how hot I am or how constricting it's feeling.

But how lazy are we getting that we need self-tightening watch bands?

I have smart outlets to control lights in my home, but they often feel like more effort than they're worth, and flicking a light switch is not hard at all.
 
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alpi123

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2014
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I'm getting tired of waiting for Apple's patents to see daylight. There are so many of them which are very cool and it's been years but Apple still hasn't shown us anything.
 
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xgman

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Aug 6, 2007
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It's just a matter of time before the Apple Watch starts reviewing your sex positions. Getting to be a bit too much monitoring.
 
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Takeo

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Nov 10, 2004
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Self tightening bands: because we believe our customers are too stupid to put on a watch correctly. - Apple.
I think it’s a great idea actually. I like to wear my watch somewhat loose. I’m sure I’m not alone. But I quickly discovered that my heart rate data during runs was missing or inconsistent. So now whenever I run I always tighten the band by one hole. Every now and then though I forget to tighten the band before my run. It’s annoying when I get home from a run and check my data to find out I have no heart rate data because I forgot to tighten the band. So this would be great. It’s a small user experience detail but those small details are what makes Apple stand out.
 

NT1440

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May 18, 2008
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It's a bit trivial and people will no doubt be going "just tighten it yourself!!!", but if I'm already paying hundreds (or thousands) of dollars just for a watch, and one which is basically an appendix to a potentially thousand-dollar phone, I'd think this idea would be complimentary to the product
I see it from the health angle. It’s no secret that an unforeseen market of users are buying these devices to help with their aging parents. I think a self tightening watch (that serves other health related functions especially fall detection) is explicitly designed for this use case.
 

Crowbot

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May 29, 2018
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I wonder if self-tightening bands might enable blood pressure monitoring?
It’s possible but wrist BP measurements can be very variable depending on the position of the wrist (it needs to be at the same level as the heart). But it is an interesting application.

I don’t see this as a “lace your shoes” thing but a temporary tightening for measurements like ECG, pulse ox and maybe more.
 
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tomaszk

macrumors member
Jun 20, 2010
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Switzerland
Just the other day while out jogging, and thinking to myself if Apple or a third party strap maker could come up with a way to increase the pressure of the wrist band to tighten up in order to measure your blood pressure. The uses described in the article are pretty lame by comparison, lets wait and see !
 

tw1ll

macrumors regular
Aug 3, 2010
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And they still won’t make then large enough for fatter wrists......
 

Gielk

macrumors newbie
Feb 9, 2017
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Self tightening? Usually I end up loosening my watch when exercising.

Also, don't people change their bands depending on what they are doing to give it a different look. If these bands cost a lot it could be expensive to have bands for exercising, a night on the town, informal event, and formal events.
China will give us cheaper options