Wearables or wearable gadgets have been on the rise for quite some time now, Apple, a long time trend setter, is taking this trend a further step ahead by working on a “Smart Ring”
Apple has just recently applied to file a patent for its new design of a “ring computing device,” which is a ring containing a mounted touchscreen, a computer processor, wireless transceiver, and a rechargeable power source.
The applied patent shares many of the current Apple Watch features but in miniature, as well as those that could be added to the Apple Watch in the future. It explains that the smart ring would ideally be worn on the first finger of either hand, and be operated using a second finger through buttons or a scroller similar to the Apple Watch’s rotating crown.
Apple’son this new invention suggests the company is interested in creating more products — like Apple Watch — that relieve people of the chore of holding their phones for long periods:
Most images of the product have a small touch screen that responds to differences in pressure, like the new 3D Touch feature in the iPhone 6S. Apple’s smart ring could also be activated with voice commands, meaning that Siri would probably make it on board. With a microphone and speaker it looks like the ring could be able to field phone calls as well.
Here’s a version of the ring with a touch screen:
© Provided by Business Insider Inc Apple ring screen (USPTO)
And another without one:
© Provided by Business Insider Inc Apple ring buttons (USPTO)
There seem to be a few different design options. One is round, and the other more rectangular:
© Provided by Business Insider Inc Apple Ring sketch copy (USPTO)
Using a mix of input methods from its touch screen and buttons to voice command and even gestures, the ring could be used to operate a number of other devices, like an iPhone or Apple TV, Homekit smart home devices or in-car entertainment systems like CarPlay.
The ring can talk to the device it’s paired with in a number of ways, like Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth, and even NFC. The patent outlines a scenario — picked up by AppleInsider — where the user is able to transfer money to someone else with a handshake, and authorise the transaction with a voice command. This could also be used to transfer messages or share files with another ring user.
The ring also includes biometric sensors and monitors the user’s heart rate.
Keep in mind that this is only a patent application, which says very little about Apple’s actual plans. Many of Apple’s patents don’t go on to be recognizable products, so one shouldn’t assume that Apple is putting a smart ring into production. Still, the application shows that Apple — at least in some small way — has smart rings on its mind. And this patent application explains why Apple thinks they’re interesting, even if it doesn’t fully explain what we’d do with an Apple-made ring.
There are quite a few smart rings out there already, and companies like Ringly haven’t quite managed to crack the market. Interestingly, some of the designs look quite a lot like a ring by London-based startup Kovert Designs, which tries to reduce the number of notifications you get rather than bombarding you with notifications for every message you get.