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Functional Band Links Shown in New Apple Patent

January 24, 2017

Apple Watch users have been clamoring for a functional band, one that does more than just hold the Apple Watch onto the wrist. Could that be in the works? As we know, Apple files for many patents that never make their way into actual devices. But Apple Insider has noted a new patent, No. 9,553,625 just granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that is worth a look.

This functional band is a modular design. Each modular link looks and connects a bit like the current Link Bracelet, only it contains electronic components.

I found this paragraph from the lengthy patent description to be particularly interesting:

The electronic components included in the modular functional band links may be any kind of electronic component associated with any kind of functionality. Such electronic components may include one or more batteries, input devices, output devices, haptic devices, displays, sensors, actuators, processors, electricity generators, photovoltaic cells, cameras, photo sensors, indicators, accelerometers, speedometers, compasses, gyroscopes, global positioning systems, thermometers, hygrometers, blood pressure sensors, sweat sensors, magnetic field sensors, antennas (such as a WiFi antenna, a Bluetooth antenna, a cellular antenna, a near field communication antenna, and so on), vibrators, speakers, track wheels, track balls, touch sensors, buttons, sliders, force sensors, and/or any other electronic component.

This opens up all kinds of possibilities for what a functional band might do. It certainly points to Apple’s continuing innovation in the smartwatch market. It indicates further innovation into the health aspects of the Apple Watch as well as communication technology such as cellular and NFC antennae.

The patent does not mention the Apple Watch specifically, only “wearable device,” so perhaps this modular functional band is intended for a future product. Of course, we have no way to know if this patent will come to fruition someday at all. Only Apple knows, at this point.

functional band

An individual modular link