Within the last two week Patently Apple reported on possible future Apple Watch bands for a custom fit and added intelligence. Apple has many Apple Watch patent-pending features for future bands that you could review here: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 and 07. Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published yet another patent application from Apple that covers moving the internal watch antennas to a future Apple Watch band – and possibly adding Touch ID to the display.
Apple's invention generally relates to antenna assemblies for watch bands, and, more particularly, to stretchable antenna elements embedded into watch bands. The watch band provides wireless communication via an antenna embedded within the watch band in a manner that protects the structural integrity and operation of the antenna.
The watch bands described provides antenna assemblies that adaptably stretch, bend, and flex with the bodies of the watch bands. The embedded antenna assemblies avoid damage from applied forces while also maintaining the compliance and comfort of the watch band while worn by a user.
The patent figures below show an Apple Watch with a band that includes stretchable communication antennas with the important aspects pointed out.
Apple's patent FIG. 16 above illustrates a block system diagram of a watch including the watch body #100 and the watch band #110. The watch body can include components for interacting with a user, the watch band and/or another device. The watch body can include components that facilitate operation of the control unit #130 and/or the antenna #140.
Most importantly, Apple notes in relation to patent FIG. 16 that "the display #104 may provide an image or video output for the watch body 100. The display #104 may also provide an input surface for one or more input devices such as a touch sensing device, force sensing device, temperature sensing device, and/or a fingerprint sensor."
Patently Apple was first today to discover the Touch ID feature buried within today's patent filing.
Apple's patent application 20190341677 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q2 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Osamu Yabe: Manager, Apple Watch Product Design
Edi (Wei-Chun) Hsu: Optical Sensing Design
Yi-Chia CHEN: We were unable to find a bio for this engineer.