In the Future, Apple Watch users may be able to upgrade their Watch with Different Functional Modules
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a new attachable module system for Apple Watch that could extend functionality.
The Apple Watch could perform a range of functions that is determined by the components (e.g., sensors, circuitry, and other hardware) included with the wearable device as manufactured. However, space, cost, and other considerations may limit the ability to provide every component that might provide a desired function.
For example, different users may have different preferences regarding the components and functions that are provided by a given watch. Some users may desire certain health tracking capabilities, while other users may desire long battery life.
Furthermore, a given user may desire different components and functions at different times. For example, a given user may desire health monitoring components and functions during exercise and components having certain cosmetic features during social activities.
Given the diversity of desired components and functions, it would be beneficial to allow a user to modify components and functions of Apple Watch to customize the user experience according to the user's desires.
Additionally or alternatively, it would be beneficial to allow Apple to modify components and functions of Apple Watch according to custom orders from a purchaser and/or to streamline a manufacturing process.
Wearable electronic devices, including watches, of the present disclosure facilitate customization, adaptability, and modification by a user according to the user's desires.
One of a variety of functional modules can be used at different times with a given body of a watch. Apple's patent FIG. 3 below illustrates a side view of a system including a watch body and multiple functional modules; FIG. 7 illustrates the module secured to the under portion of Apple Watch.
Each functional module can include one or more functional components such as sensors, bio-sensors, batteries, I/O components, communication interfaces, controllers, and the like.
For example, different components can be for sensing a biometric characteristic, such as heart rate. However, the different components can be calibrated differently based on the user. By further example, where heart rate relies on transmission and reflection of light (e.g., PPG sensor), each bio-sensor can be optimized for a particular pigmentation or range of pigmentations of skin, so that a given user can select the functional module that is best suited for operation with the user. Other variations, such as size, shape, and material selection can be provided so the user can select the functional module that is best suited for the user's comfort and/or performance of the component.
The different functional modules can also differ in mechanical configuration such as material properties and/or structural features, which can help define shape, size, flexibility, rigidity, tactile feel, ergonomic features, and/or aesthetic properties such as color, patterns, and/or materials to provide a different look and feel. Furthermore, each of the functional modules may have a different enclosure having a different color, material, shape, accoutrements, patterns, etc. The enclosures can provide different aesthetic features, cosmetic features, and/or a look and feel than the other enclosures in the system.
Additionally or alternatively, the functional module 200 can provide one or more other electronic components 94 providing other functionality. The one or more electronic components 94 can provide of facilitate measurements of body temperature, exposure to UV radiation, and other health-related information. The one or more electronic components 94 can provide or facilitate measurements of body temperature, exposure to UV radiation, and other health-related information. The one or more electronic components 94 can be configured to provide or facilitate detection of images, pressure, light, touch, force, temperature, position, motion, and so on. The one or more electronic components 94 can include or facilitate operation of a temperature sensor, a light or optical sensor, an atmospheric pressure sensor, a humidity sensor, a magnet, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and so on. The one or more electronic components 94 can include an opening extending partially or entirely through the functional module 200 to provide exposure to an external environment, for example, for measurements.
Apple's patent application that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q2 2019. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.