Apple wins a Patent for a new Apple Watch Protective Case
Most portable devices may be susceptible to an impact or shock events. Therefore, there is a need for protective accessories for Apple Watch that could reduce the likelihood of damage due to shock or impact. This is the context of one of Apple's latest granted patents issued today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple's invention covers a protective case for Apple Watch that includes a body portion configured to at least partially cover the housing using curved corner protrusions that are configured to cover one or more corners of the housing. An aperture may be formed in the body portion and a gasket may be formed around the aperture to form a protrusion in the body portion.
In some embodiments, the wearable electronic device includes an optical sensor used to compute a health metric of the wearer. The optical sensor may be positioned adjacent to the aperture defined in the body portion of the protective case. The contact between the protrusion of the gasket and the wearer's skin shields the optical sensor from external light. In some cases, the gasket is formed from a compliant material that is configured to conform to a wrist of the wearer to form an optical seal.
In some embodiments, the wearable electronic device includes a removable band strap attached to the housing. The set of curved corner protrusions may be configured to cover at least a portion of the removable band strap and retain the removable band strap within a feature formed in the housing. In some cases, the removable band strap is received within a channel of the housing. A portion of the protective case may be configured to peel away from the respective corner of the housing to allow the removable band strap to be removed from the channel of the housing.
A removable case may be attached to the enclosure and include a body disposed over a bottom portion of the housing, multiple protrusions that extend from the body toward the cover to enclose the four corners of the enclosure, and a gasket positioned along a perimeter of an aperture defined in the body and configured to contact a skin of the user to form an optical barrier. In some embodiments, an optical element is positioned in an opening of the bottom portion of the housing.
In some cases, a membrane structure may be disposed between the set of footing protrusions and the annular protrusion, wherein the membrane structure is configured to conform to the skin of the wearer.
The protective case may be formed of a compliant material, such as an elastomer, having sufficient rigidity for protecting the wearable electronic device and being sufficiently flexible for attachment to and/or removal from the wearable electronic device. In some instances, the protective case is configured to provide protection from a shock or impact while also allowing the device to operate as well as or better than without the protective case installed.
Apple's patent FIG. 1B depicts an exploded view of the example protective case for an Apple Watch; FIG. 2A depicts a top plan view of the Apple Watch with the protective case covering the corners; FIG. 2B depicts a bottom plan view of Apple Watch with the case not covering the sensors.
Apple's patent FIGS. 2C and 2D above depict side views of Apple Watch with the protective case on.
In some cases, the protective case provides a cushion or a gap between the cover and a potentially damaging surface such as asphalt on the ground if the Apple Watch is dropped with the cover facing downward.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 10,945,664