The smart ring world could be about to get serious, after Apple was granted a second patent for its own take on the every-growing category.
Back in October 2019 we reported on a patent that revealed Apple was looking at “control-like features with gestures and input tech.” And that seems to remain Apple’s intention, with new information coming to light.
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Patent No. 10,627,902, spotted by Apple Insider, expands on the idea of the smart ring as a controller, and talks about “faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for controlling external electronic devices.”
And there’s clearly an appetite at Apple to try new elements of control. With iPhones expanding in size rapidly and screentime an issue, Apple is looking at more ways for us to stay in control of our digital lives.
"[A ring gives a user] faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for controlling external electronic devices," says Apple in the patent. "Thereby increasing the effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction with such devices."
The new patent doesn’t show off a lot we didn’t already know, but does have detail on how it might work.
The patent includes a touch sensitive panel, that would enable the user to control devices such as iPhone, Macbook or Apple TV by moving a thumb across the surface.
The patent also hints at haptic feedback through the device, something that the Apple Watch made use of when it was launched back in 2014.
And voice input is also mentioned, which would make the ring a natural place for Siri to live – again, another key component of the Apple Watch.
Finally, a touchscreen is mentioned, so incredibly, there may be visual information fed back via the Apple smart ring.
Apple wrote: “The ring computing device can also receive information from external devices in the form of messages or images on a touchscreen, pulses or vibrations of haptic actuators, and sound."
We know that Apple registers a lot of patents – and many will never see the light of day. And many ideas will come to life in other ways. And we feel that perhaps the Apple Watch may see a lot of these use cases over the next few years.
The Apple Watch is already a wearable device with haptic feedback, Siri integration and a touchscreen, so perhaps use cases for controlling other devices may come here first. It can already wake your MacBook, so we’d love to see it become even more useful.
Check out our list of exciting Apple Watch patents for more glimpses into how Apple sees the future.
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