Apple's future Watches could change colour, and learn another nifty trick

Apple's idea for the chameleon watch
Patents point to future Apple Watch ideas

Sure, Apple might have only just launched its Apple Watch Series 2, but we're still keeping a close eye on what it's working on behind the scenes. The latest comes in the form of two patents demonstrating new ideas that may one day make it to the wearable.

The first is a patent for colour-changing Watch bands, titled 'Transparent structures filled with electrically active fluid'. The idea is a chameleon-like strap for the Watch filled with a special fluid which, when applied with different voltages, would react by doing things like displaying information on the band, changing colour, or responding to touch input.

One of the illustrations shows the word "HELLO" showing on the side of the band, demonstrating how information could be displayed without the wearer needing to wake up the screen.

The patent makes mention of having multiple colours showing at once, and how colours could me mixed together: "For example, if a red colour is illuminated adjacent to a blue colour, the object may appear to be purple."

More interesting is how it describes what these colours will mean. For example, a flashing red colour could mean an incoming call, which, the description notes, you might be able to touch to answer.

The patent describes how this tech could also be used to create connectors that work through the band

Read next: My week living with watchOS 3

We also spotted a second patent demonstrating a new software trick that would improve the relationship between the Watch and its paired iPhone. The idea is to make the process of reaching for your phone after receiving a notification on the Watch more seamless: the app or message you see on the Watch would be open on the screen of the phone when you pick it up.

This means you wouldn't have to enter your password when picking up the phone. The technology would detect when the iPhone is stowed away in a pocket or bag, using various sensors, and then, when you get an alert on the Watch, provide context so the phone would open on an email, tweet, message etc.

You can already see how useful this would be. Replying to messages on any smartwatch isn't a great experience, but if you could pick up your phone and have the reply box ready to go without touching anything else, it would make the experience a lot better.


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