Apple invents next-gen Apple Watch bands and fasteners designed to keep the band snug to support biometric sensors.
As we all know by now, Apple Watch has now become a multifunctional device that can act as your smartphone and a health and fitness device all in one. In order for Apple Watch to function as a health device, the band must be able to securely keep the watch in a firm position so that sensors under the watch will be able to read a user's vitals accurately. While Apple's first generation of bands was focused on fashion, their next generation of watch bands, according to a new patent application published today, will be focused on providing bands with a new level of snugness.
Apple's patent background notes that some electronic devices may be removably attached to a user. For example, a wristwatch or fitness/health tracking device can be attached to a user's wrist by joining free ends of a watchband together.
In many cases, watchbands may have limited fit adjustment increments available. For example, some bands have an incrementally user-adjustable size (e.g., a buckling clasp, pin and eyelet, etc.) whereas other bands have a substantially fixed size, adjustable only with specialized tools and/or expertise (e.g., folding clasp, deployment clasp, snap-fit clasp, etc.). Other bands may be elasticated expansion-type bands that stretch to fit around a user's wrist. The degree of comfort and securement of the electronic device can depend on the function and arrangement of the watchband.
Apple's invention covers Apple Watch as a fitness/health tracking device wherein it is desirable to maintain a secure attachment to the wrist so that the electronic device does not shift excessively or slip off of the user.
Securement of the electronic device against the user can also be important to the function of electronic components, such as biometric sensors.
The fit may be different and/or may be perceived to be different given certain environmental (e.g. temperature, humidity) or biological conditions (e.g., sweat, inflammation).
Additionally, it can be desirable to maximize the comfort of the user while wearing the electronic device. Often, a secure attachment can apply an undesirable amount of force on the wrist of the user. In many cases, conventional watchbands may catch, pinch, or pull a user's hair or skin during use if the band is overly tight.
In other cases, watchbands may slide along a user's wrist, turn about a user's wrist, or may be otherwise uncomfortable or bothersome to a user if the band is overly loose. These problems can be exacerbated during periods of heightened activity, such as while running or playing sports.
Pictured are just a few of 32 patent figures published last month. Apple's patent FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the backside of a watch band; FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a new stopper system and a base.