It seems Apple has been looking into developing smart bands that add extra features to the company’s smartwatch. That is what a new patent Apple secured on Tuesday seems to suggest.
The inclusion of a diagnostics port on the device has for some time fuelled speculation that Apple may bring smart band accessories to the market at some point in the future. First published last March, the patent, titled “Modular functional band links for wearable devices“, was uncovered by AppleInsider.
In the background of the patent, Apple says, ‘wearable devices are not usually expandable beyond their initial design to meet functional needs of individual different users.’ The patent then goes on to describe strap designs consisting of a range of separate watch band ‘links’ that can work serially or in parallel. The standalone devices connect to each other and ultimately to the 6-pin diagnostics port on the Apple Watch.
This means that instead of building new sensors and processors directly into a single chassis, the smart links would add new functions. As described in the patent this could include batteries, displays, processors, electricity generators, GPS sensors, cameras, thermometers, blood pressure sensors, sweat sensors and speakers. The long list of possibilities shows that Apple is probably covering as many bases as they can with the application, but at least some of those on the list would be useful.
What this means for owners of the existing devices remains unclear. It could mean that those who have purchased the first or second generation watch could continue to get upgraded features as and when they come out.
Of course, just because Apple was granted the patent, doesn’t necessarily guarantee that these bands will see the light of day. But it is an intriguing idea in any case, and would go a long way to making the Apple Watch an even more useful device.
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