Apple Watch SE not what you hoped? Apple might have a fitness tracker coming

Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE (Image credit: Apple)

Before the Apple Watch SE was announced some people (us included) hoped it would be the company's first fitness tracker, designed for people who wanted the health features of the Apple Watch 6 but without the extra features and high cost. It turns out that isn't the case, but the company might have such a product coming.

As spotted by Patently Apple, just before the September Apple event kicked off the US Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent for a few different micro-LED products. These three products include a MacBook and iPad, two things Apple already makes, and also a fitness tracker - a kind of device that we haven't seen from Apple before.

Most of the patent, which you can read here, delves into the technical aspects of the Apple fitness tracker - no design elements or fitness features are mentioned, save the use of micro-LED. So we don't know much about this device other than the fact that Apple is - or was - at least toying with the idea of such a device.

A long way off

Though this patent was just published, it was actually filed in 2015, suggesting Apple may have been working on the tech for a while. Saying that, micro-LED is still a pretty futuristic technology - Apple hasn't even used mini-LED, which is the step between currently-used LED panels and micro-LED, just yet. So this high-tech fitness tracker could be quite a way away.

Apple is rumored to be releasing a mini-LED iPad Pro in early 2021, so maybe we'll see a micro-LED one in 2022 or beyond. That would likely be when we'd see such a fitness tracker too, though it could be a little earlier.

That's if it lands at all, but as ever with patents it's worth noting that there's no guarantee this will become a product.

It's worth pointing out that in June Patently Apple reported on another Apple fitness band patent that made no mention of micro-LED - perhaps the device we heard about in this latest patent is actually a second-generation device, with the non-micro-LED version coming sooner.

Either way, we probably won't hear about this Apple fitness tracker for a while yet, if it's even in the works - the company just unveiled the Apple Watch 6, Watch SE and its new Fitness Plus program all in one go, and if it had a fitness band too it likely would have shown that off alongside them.

When more news and rumors circulate about this Apple fitness tracker we'll let you know, so sign up to the TechRadar newsletter to stay tuned in to all the tech news.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.