Apple Watch Could Identify Bands to Launch Apps and Alter Settings, Patent Suggests

Apple Watch could gain the ability to identify a watch band when it is changed and modify settings or customise the user interface in the future, according to a newly granted patent. The Cupertino company’s patent describes a system that can identify specific bands and respond by performing a specific function. Meanwhile, the patent also describes a system that can help an Apple Watch owner track how long they use specific straps. The company is yet to announce plans to brings these features to the Apple Watch.

A new patent granted to Apple (via AppleInsider) on Tuesday describes a feature that allows an electronic device to identify a particular watch strap and then respond by performing specific functions — including modifying the settings on the Apple Watch, or customising its user interface. The newly granted patent is assigned to Apple and credited to Timothy Johnson, Distinguished Engineer at the company.

apple watch band patent uspto apple watch patent

The patent describes different methods to identify a watch band
Photo Credit: US Patent Office/ Apple

The patent also mentions the detection of an “identification element” will allow the electronic device (Apple Watch) to perform an action associated with that accessory. These actions can vary from displaying a specific message or alert to starting a timer and communicating with another gadget — assuming the wearable device offers support for those features.

In order to discover and identify an Apple Watch band, the patent suggests reflecting light — infrared or visible — emitted from the back of the wearable device, off an identification element with a specific pattern that can be used to recognise the strap. It is currently unclear whether these identification features will be supported on third party watch straps for the Apple Watch.

apple watch band patent stages uspto apple watch patent

The process starts with scanning for a band and ends with the action
Photo Credit: US Patent Office/ Apple

Another method mentioned in the patent is the scanning of a QR code that is specific to a particular watch band that helps the device identify the accessory. This could automatically trigger an action, or launch an app or start a workout, or start a timer, based on the type of strap that is attached to the smartwatch.

Aside from performing tasks when connected to an Apple Watch, the patent also suggests a mechanism that will allow an Apple Watch to track usage of different bands and provide statistics such as duration of use and associated activities, which could give wearers additional insights on their wrist.

While the patent for watch band identification has been granted to Apple, it is worth noting that the company has not yet announced any plans to brings these features to the Apple Watch. They could possibly debut on a future wearable from the company — such as the successors to the Apple Watch Series 8 that are expected to arrive later this year.   

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