Apple’s New iWatch Patent: The slapWatch

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iWatchHow about a watch that's also a slap bracelet and links to your iPhone? That's what Apple's latest patent describes. The iWatch slapWatch includes a touch-based interface, links to your iPhone, displays Maps, and even relies on solar power and kinetic energy to help recharge its battery.

The patent describes a wearable device that auto-sizes the display based on the size of your wrist so users don't have to worry about the end of the band covering controls, plus it includes phone and iTunes controls, links to the Maps app, and even displays an onscreen keyboard for Messages, according to Patently Apple. Of course, it connects to your iPhone wirelessly, and the patent also says the slapWatch could be used flat when it isn't on your wrist.

It's possible this patent describes what Apple plans to release if it really does launch the rumored iWatch. Patents, however, aren't a guarantee a company has a product ready to launch. Sometimes companies patent ideas to keep their competition from developing similar products, and some elements could appear in different products, too.

The wearable device concept has been gaining steam lately thanks to products like the Fitbit One and Ultra for tracking fitness activity, and now with products like the Pebble smartwatch that displays information from your iPhone. Google's Glass project aims to bring heads up display-style views into our daily life, too, with its still in development glasses.

Apple's slapWatch patent includes some interesting concepts, but unless it offers something that stands out from the other wearable tech devices that are coming to market, it's not likely we'll see this on store shelves.

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5 Comments Leave Your Own

webjprgm

The idea of a slap-on bracelet as a smart watch does sound interesting. 

Then my paranoia of being robbed crept in. My current watch is just a $40 thing and the only way to get it off is to slide it over my hand. A slap-on smart watch would probably be at least $100, would be one of those coveted Apple products, and could be slipped off much easier and therefore easily stolen in a crowd.

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When could we see something like this? Well, does the display technology even exist? This requires a flexible color display with low power consumption requirements.  I believe those are in the works but I haven’t heard that any are ready for market yet.

d'monder

This might be a nice stopgap, but augmented-reality glasses like Google Glass are the eventual future.  Why work with a little patch on your wrist, when your entire field of vision could be used as an interface?

Apple could do a quantum leap here, on par with the Lisa and original Macintosh.  Hopefully this is their ultimate goal.

geoduck

d’monder
The iWatch idea is too small a screen, I agree with you on that, but what I got from the Google Glasses video was how annoying and distracting they would be. I’ll take something the size of an iPhone that straps to my arm. Something I can shut up when I don’t want to be annoyed. Something that isn’t painting little distracting moving images on my retina when I’m trying to concentrate on something.

d'monder

geoduck,

“Something I can shut up when I don’t want to be annoyed. Something that isn’t painting little distracting moving images on my retina when I’m trying to concentrate on something.”

Exactly.  Only Apple could get it right.  Not Google, and certainly not Microsoft.

dhp

“This might be a nice stopgap, but augmented-reality glasses like Google Glass are the eventual future. ”

That’s what people have been saying about video phones for over 40 years. And spoken word input. These things have their limited uses, but in general people don’t care much about them. I don’t really see the average person walking around wearing Google Glass(es). Most of us still roll our eyes at people talking into their bluetooth earpieces anywhere outside a car. At least with a watch there is a method for silent interaction. The only way I can imagine this catching on is if the technology can be cheaply integrated into people’s everyday eyeglasses.

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