Apple is the king of patents. It’s no secret that the tech giant likes to push patents for any and every new technology it develops. Over the course of the year, Apple has filed numerous patents, including anything and everything from virtual reality, to a parking locator, to solar charging batteries. But their latest patent seems to take wearable technology into a whole new realm.
The company was granted a patent last week for a type of smart band that could interact with mobile devices or other wearables. The patent (entitled “woven display) details the layout for a type of smart strap, which can either be magnetically attached or tethered to a device…which means that the Apple Watch could be taken to a whole new level.
The strap itself would consist of “special light-transmitting fibers” that would be integrated with modern textiles (through the use of three-dimensional knitting) in order to form a pattern and/or display. These fibers would then connect to a light source (such as an LED) in order to display colored, numeric, or alphabetic messages.
It is the careful combination of modern technology and fashion that could easily change the future of the wearable device market.
As far as functionality goes, Apple has thought of many uses for this new smart strap. One advantage of the smart strap would be that it could display time, temperature, and other relevant data in an easy-to-read manner. Or, the device could change colors to represent different notifications (such as a missed call, new text message, etc.). Or it could turn red to alert the user of a low battery or poor connection.
Apple isn’t the first entry into this new form of technology, however. In November, the household-name tech company, Sony, released the FES Watch. This watch possesses E-paper technology, allowing the user to change the pattern of the watch’s strap. And last year, popSlate unveiled a phone case concept that also included e-paper tech.
No word yet as to when Apple plans on releasing this new device. However, given that the patent was filed back in May 2014, Apple may be very well on their way to debuting a finished product soon…perhaps for the Apple Watch 2 release? Stay tuned.