Published early Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple was granted a patent that could pave the way for future Apple Watch bands to be user-customizable, boasting “modular accessories” built directly into the device’s individual band links.
According to the patent filing, these ‘modular accessories’ could potentially include everything from secondary OLED displays, to extra battery packs, health tracking tools like blood pressure sensors, sweat sensors, and even GPS trackers, speakers, and external input devices, such as force touch-sensitive panels, for example.
Described by Apple as “Modular functional band links for wearable devices,” the patent essentially outlines a concept by which users would be able to custom tailor their Apple Watches utilizing these modular accessories, thereby creating a truly unique Apple Watch experience that’s custom built to meet their wants and needs.
The underlying concept of this patent would make for a pretty cool Apple Watch experience — one offering users an a la carte style of ownership, whereby they’d be able to choose from different ‘modular accessories’ to create an Apple Watch band that’s uniquely their own. And this customization potential, in turn, could lead a lot of would-be Apple Watch owners to take the plunge, since the device would no longer be beholden to a “one size fits all” sales model.
However, while the concept would afford users a truly customizable Watch experience, this diversification of modular accessories could also severely fragment the Apple Watch product line as we know it. Why? Well, if everyone is wearing a different Apple Watch, boasting unique interfaces and components, how are app developers supposed to create watchOS apps that are compatible with each person’s particular Watch configuration? It could be a colossal nightmare, if not downright impossible, altogether.
Another potential limitation to the modular Apple Watch is the device’s ease-of-use, or, more specifically, the learning curve that will most certainly come into play, if different users have to learn how to use different input methods, or operate individual accessories in a particular manner. Personally, I see that situation creating more headaches than a wider base of satisfied customers, if anything else.
Nevertheless, as with all Apple patents, we highly recommend taking this one with a grain of salt for now. While it’s interesting to think of all the possibilities that “modular accessories” could bring to Apple Watch owners, Cupertino has a penchant for patenting far more in the way of concepts and ideas than it produces by way of aluminum and silicon, so we’ll just have to see what happens with this.
Do you like the idea of a modular style Apple Watch?
Or does it sound more complicated than you’d prefer?
Let us know in the comments below!