Apple invents an Apple Watch & Band system with mating NFC modules that will instantly match band colors with the Watch UI, Open Apps+
Apple's engineering teams have been working hard on possible new advances to Apple Watch and Apple Watch bands. In fact, in the last month there's been a number of patents that have come to light (01, 02 and 03) covering a new adjustable fit detection system, a continuous watch band using next-gen elastic composites and integrating health sensors into Apple Watch bands.
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to adding an NFC module to the tip of an Apple Watch band that will mate with a new NFC module in the Apple Watch body. Once mated, the watch will take on the color scheme of the band instantly as well as other features described in the patent including a security system and bands that could open specific apps, like exercise. Lastly, the patent also touches on integrating health sensors into the band.
Band Identifier System For Wearable Devices
Apple's granted patent covers a band identification system for Apple Watch that allows it to uniquely identify a band that is coupled to a main body of the watch. The systems and methods may include near-field communications (NFC) components that allow Apple Watch to uniquely identify and/or obtain other information from a band that is coupled to its body without requiring a power source to be provided in the band.
The systems and methods disclosed allow an Apple Watch to uniquely identify and/or obtain other information from a band that is coupled to a main body of the device. Upon identification of a particular band using the near-field communications components of the band identification system, one or more components and/or features of the Apple Watch can be modified to correspond to the identified band.
For example, the color palette or theme of displayed content can be changed, without user input, to match one or more colors of an identified band. In another example, upon identification of a fitness band, a fitness application or a fitness related home screen can be displayed by the wearable electronic device. In another example, upon identification of or removal of a swim band, water protection features such as water purging features of the device can be activated.
The band identification systems and methods may also facilitate identification of authorized and/or unauthorized bands for a wearable electronic device. For example, third party bands may be unauthorized bands that are advertised for use with a particular wearable electronic device, but may not properly secure to the device, which can cause a risk of damage to the device. Upon determination that a band that is coupled to the device is not an authorized band, a warning may be provided using an output component of the device, and/or one or more features of the device may be disabled or otherwise modified. In another example, a particular band may be associated with a particular application or service on the wearable electronic device.
Upon identification of a band that is associated with a particular application or service on the wearable electronic device, the device may activate or provide access to features associated with that application or service.
The systems and methods may also facilitate identification by a wearable electronic device of one or more characteristics of a band. The characteristics of the band may include the color, shape, or style of the band and/or a capability of the band.
For example, in some implementations, a band may include one or more band components that provide various capabilities for the band. Band components may include, as examples, one or more sensors (e.g., environmental sensors, biometric sensors, gesture sensors, inertial sensors, or the like), processing circuitry, additional communications circuitry, input components, audio and/or haptic output components, a battery, and/or one or more display components.
The systems and methods also includes near-field communications components that enable a wearable electronic device to identify, access, power, and/or utilize the band components (e.g., to add additional capability for the wearable electronic device).
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below represents an Apple Watch device; FIG. 2, illustrates a near-field communications (NFC) module #210 that can be mounted to in the Apple Watch to match up with the NFC module in the Band #208. When the band and the Watch NFC modules are mated it allows NFC module #210 to read a tag of NFC module #208 to obtain a unique identifier on the band and reads the information (e.g., identifiers of one or more characteristics and/or capabilities) for band that can alter the theme of the Watch UI.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent US 11611372 B1.