Apple continues to work on its smart ring project as the company has been given a patent for a wearable that'll have the ability to control other devices via touch inputs.
It’s been a while since we’ve last heard anything about the “Apple Ring”. The last time we talked about it was all the way back in 2020 when an older patent revealed the tech giant sought to implement gesture controls. But it appears that idea has been scrapped. In its place, the Apple Ring will utilize a “rotating outer band” as one potential method of wireless control, according to a document found on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. For example, moving the band would allow people to scroll through a webpage on an iPhone.
The patent goes on to provide several block diagrams detailing some of the gadget's capabilities and what may be its current design.
Looking through the document, we learned the little gadget may be able to connect to a wide variety of hardware. This includes, but is not limited to, smart watches, headphones, desktops, tablets, and laptops. Imagine being able to control your Mac with a few twists of the ring.
The brain, if you will, of the Apple Ring appears to be the “electronic jewel system” sitting on top. Patently Apple, in their report, points to a specific image in the document detailing what’s inside the “jewel”. There will be a scroll ball for the outer band, a touch sensor, storage space, plus a haptic generator. The haptics activate whenever your smartphone gets a notification, making the wearable vibrate in response.
Seemingly, the Apple Ring will be rather small and “unobtrusive” as it’ll fit on your ring finger like a cybernetic wedding band.
Needless to say, Apple is being very ambitious with its ring project. However, we want to caution you to take everything here with a grain of salt. It certainly sounds impressive on the surface, but there’s no guarantee any of this will be available in the final product – assuming there is one. This is something that has been in the works for nearly four years now.
Plus, some of the information borders on the line of science fiction.
Analysis: Wave of the future?
Apple Insider mentions a line in the patent stating the wearable can send inputs to “gloves for computer-generated environments”. Or in other words, the ring could let people interact with virtual reality words without needing a controller. Sounds too good to be true in our opinion. We’re going to remain skeptical yet hopeful because high-tech accessories seem to be the next wave of the future.
Smart rings tend to be like sleep trackers like the Oura, although there is evidence to suggest the Oura Ring 4 will support contactless payments. Of course, it would be remiss of us to not mention another recently discovered patent hinting at AirPod charging cases that can double as bracelets.
Rings. Bracelets. What’s next – Apple Piercings? As we wait for the day to come when we can wear an outfit made entirely out of Apple products, in the meantime check out TechRadar’s list of the best smartwatches for 2023.
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Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.