New Apple Watch Patent Shows the Smart Bands We’ve Been Waiting for

Apple Watch Series 4 Hadrian Shutterstock Credit: Hadrian / Shutterstock
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Apple appears to be exploring new ways of adding additional functionality to its future Apple Watch devices and bands, features which we’ve been waiting ever so patiently for.

The company’s latest patent focuses exclusively on advanced Apple Watch bands featuring LED indicators which are intended to advise the wearer of their status completing certain activities (without them actually having to turn on and look at device’s main display). 

Published on Tuesday morning by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple’s new “Indicators for wearable electronic devices” patent essentially describes how a watch strap could be expanded (i.e., modified or outfitted) to provide users with quicker visuals into their status via a series of LED notification lights embedded strategically within it.

The text further implies that certain sections of the LED cluster array could be illuminated to varying brightness levels, depending on the user’s configured settings, to serve as status indicators for a variety of activities and daily goals.

28205 43427 Apple Watch Strap Indicator L
USPTO via AppleInsider

How Would This Benefit Me?

Ultimately, the bands would be able to provide wearers with data normally available to them only by turning on and navigating the device’s main display. 

For example, if a user were actively attempting to monitor their step count, a segmented portion of the LED array could be configured to slowly fill up like a meter, throughout the day, as they march closer to their goal.

28205 43428 Aple Watch Strap Indicator 2 L
USPTO via AppleInsider

Apple Watch, in this fashion, would be performing the heavy-duty activity monitoring as it already does — but would additionally issue real-time commands to the band, asking it to illuminate certain LEDs to a specific level at a specific time.

Notably, Apple points out how this band-embedded LED array could ultimately preserve Apple Watch’s battery life over the course of a day, since the indicators would provide the user with sufficient notifications, without them turning on the device’s bright screen every time they want to check their status.

When Will These Be Unveiled?

Ultimately, while today’s patent gives us yet another rare glimpse into what Apple could be working on behind closed doors, it’s unfortunately just a patent. Therefore, at this time, we can’t say with certainty whether the company will even pursue this concept in the form of a tangible product.

These LED bands would certainly seem fitting as a possible means of bringing new and exclusive functionalities to future Apple Watch models. 

But, this wouldn’t even be the first time Apple has been granted patents covering similar, seemingly futuristic Apple Watch band technologies.

Other Apple Watch Innovations

Nearly two-years ago, the company was granted a patent covering a modular Apple Watch band design incorporating advanced sensors, swappable accessories like batteries, cameras and other components.

Even more recently, Apple was granted a patent covering a futuristic self-adjusting Apple Watch band design, which would, in practice, allow the band to tighten and expand so that Apple Watch could more accurately record the wearer’s pulse and heart rate data. 

Apple is also known to be working on a range of other Apple Watch technologies, including innovative diagnostic health tools, advanced micro-OLED displays and more as possible features of a future Apple Watch. But, with Series 4 still rolling off the assembly line and onto customers doorsteps, we’ll just have to wait until next year to find out which of these innovative new concepts made the cut.

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