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IP: Apple smart strap patent hints at new direction in wearable tech

Source: GeekSnack

grillip-apple-patents-ip-1240-850In a patent Apple filed and the Patent and Trademark Office published this week, we get a glimpse of yet another new product that could be launched under Tim Cook’s command. While the first such device was the Apple Watch, doing pretty well on the market, this second product that’s going to be entirely branded with Tim Cook innovation is unsurprisingly useless.

The patent describes a new Apple device that is a wearable strap made of a woven fine fabric capable of acting as a display. This strap, because that’s all it is, is meant to either act as a tether to a phone or tablet or to the Apple Watch. Although the patent holds evidence that the smart strap could be a stand-alone device, having its own chipset, it lacks a power source and does not hold ground as an untethered tech at this point.

The Apple smart strap, or whatever this might end up being called, is supposedly capable of displaying information like time, date or weather, thanks to the woven display made of nylon and light pipe fibers. The interesting part is that the entire smart strap can function as a flexible display. There’s potential in this tech, but according to the documents in the patent filing, in its current stage of development, even Apple admits that it can do little more than be a tether in case a gadget slips out of your hand.

Regardless of the smart strap being totally useless right now, the patent is an important step ahead in display technology for wearable devices. With the flexible, woven display ready, Apple could turn the next Apple Watch into a truly innovative device, of the likes we haven’t seen before. Turning the small display we currently use on the Apple Watch into a woven display that goes all around your wrist might sound gimmicky, but if used to create a high-tech fitness tracker, it makes more sense than what the Apple Watch is meant to do.

Patents aren’t a certainty that products will make it to market, but they do offer insight into what a company is working on and what kind of research it is investing in. The last few patents that Apple filed reveal that the Cupertino-giant is focused on wearable technology and IoT, as well as durability and new input methods for larger devices like the iPhone. With the IoT industry just getting into that booming period we all see coming, Apple is most likely trying to secure the top spot for itself in wearable tech.

If the company truly releases the product described in the band, it’s going to be pretty funny because it truly is a useless gadget in its form. However, if the company takes the display tech In the patent and further refines it to house its own power source and connectivity hardware, we might be looking forward to a much more innovative device than the Apple Watch.

 

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Author: grill-ip

Grill IP is a non-profit project for educational and entertaining purposes only. Our aim is to provide quick and easy access to aggregated and original patent news, IP analysis, interesting business cases in IP, basic legal updates and a list of patent transactions.

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