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Apple Considering Stuffing Watch Bands With NFC, Bluetooth, Other Connectivity



The Apple Watch finally has an Ultra verson with a drastically different external appearance, but it’s watch bands that truly give users the chance to add flair to their watches. A newly-granted patent is recognizing the variety of watch bands out there and proposing they do more than contribute to the device’s aesthetic, as it describes how an Apple watch could detect different bands by type, model, color, or size, and then alter its settings depending on that band.

As described by the patent, Apple watch bands could become their own pieces of proprietary tech, or otherwise modify the wearable for specific purposes. What purposes? Perhaps a band designed to be used underwater could help the watch detect certain brightness settings or launch specific apps. A specific fitness-minded band could provide some extra information to the watch during a workout.

As first noticed by Apple Insider, once the watch detects a band, it could open a website, start a timer, display a message, post alerts, or communicate with another device. Otherwise, it could simply modify the display to show the same color as the band, if you’re the type of person who is a little too obsessed with matching wearable colors.

Though the patent mentions that new or existing watch sensors could detect what kind of band is in use—possibly through a QR code, for example—the bands themselves could include some detection element, whether that’s NFC, Bluetooth, magnetic or RFID. However, the device could even use physical connections from the band to the watch face to get information from the band.

This band idea fits into Apple’s recent dive into health tech. The Cupertino, California-based company has been diving into wearable tracking technology for users’ body movements and for scanning users’ faces. This patent, dated May 30, mentions that its devices could use “biosensors” to detect light, pressure, touch, motion, temperature, or other “health metrics.” Alongside existing heartbeat monitoring, past reports mentioned Apple watches in the future could include more heat sensors for fever detection. This combines with one described use of a band that could log how much time you used the device with that specific strap, which could be useful for some exercise apps.


As with any newly-released patent docs, you shouldn’t start expecting an updated Apple-brand Apple Watch band (say that five times fast) to come out of WWDC this June. But Apple does seem to be pushing its devices in unseen directions, especially with the emergency satellite services feature. What this latest patent infers is that Apple may be looking to make its bands more proprietary, or at least incentivize users to buy more first-party straps.

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Source: Gizmodo

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