Apple Watch Could Slim Down With This Interesting New Patent

The Apple Watch could get a little bit slimmer in future iterations if ideas in a new Apple patent ever see the light of day. The patent application in question details a haptic motor that takes up residence in the band of the watch instead of the watch itself.

This could do something to solve the problem of space within the Apple Watch. As we've seen with recent versions of the iPhone, Apple likes to make its devices as thin as it can, but because it has to fit all of the Apple Watch hardware within a relatively tiny space, slimming it down becomes more difficult. By applying this patent and moving the motor responsible for haptic feedback to the band, it could open up some addition space within the Watch.

Apple breaks down the idea pretty well in the patent application, but even without a detailed overview, the idea is pretty straightforward. The patent application discusses putting haptic sensors within attachment mechanisms – either the mechanisms that attach the band to the watch, or the clasp that attaches the band (and therefore the device as a whole) to the user, moving the haptic sensor to the underside of the wrist.

Going even further, the patent suggests generating the haptic feedback within the band itself. Essentially, there are a few different ways Apple considers implementing this idea, so the patent application covers a lot of ground. It also suggests either a wireless or wired connection between the sensor and processor:

The electronic device can be in communication with the one or more haptic devices through a wired and/or wireless connection. In some embodiments, a remote electronic device can be in communication with the electronic device attached to the wearable band and the remote electronic device can activate or deactivate a haptic response in one or more attachment mechanisms associated with the wearable band.

In addition to using this patent to make the watch thinner, Apple could also choose to keep the size of the Apple Watch the same and add additional components. As it stands right now, the size of the current Apple Watch is roughly on par with more conventional watches, so it doesn't necessarily need to get thinner. Apple could instead use that space to increase the size of the battery, giving the Apple Watch extended life.

While this would allow for increased functionality within the band, one downside is that it could also make buying additional bands a more expensive endeavor. That could be offset by perhaps decreasing the cost of other Apple Watch hardware, but there's no guarantee Apple would go that route. Still, at this point, it's probably too early to speculate on any price changes this patent would bring forth.

It's an interesting patent to be sure, and the full text can be found via the source link below. Considering that a new Apple Watch just launched a few months back, we likely won't see this technology implemented for quite some time, if it's even implemented at all. Still, there's always the possibility that we'll see such a band in the next Apple Watch model, assuming Apple moves forward with the idea.

SOURCE: US Patent and Trademark Office