Apple Researching Low Power Bluetooth Hotspots for Devices Like the iWatch

Apple has filed for a United States patent detailing a system for allowing a device to access and share a remote network with a second device using the low-power Bluetooth LE protocol, reports AppleInsider. The patent application was published today and credits Apple engineers Daniel Borges, Jason Giles, and Michael Larson as inventors.

apple_bluetooth_le_hotspot_1
Notably, the application mentions a first device acting as a hotspot and having short-range connectability with a second device, with the second device having access to remote networks. This would be very similar to the rumored interaction between Apple's upcoming iWatch and a second iOS device such as the iPhone, with the iWatch serving as an accessory and giving users easy at-a-glance access to common functions without having to take out larger devices.

The described technology would seem particularly apt for providing intermittent Internet access for the iWatch, allowing it to take advantage of low-power Bluetooth to only intermittently connect to the Internet using an iPhone as a hotspot rather than having to host its own cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.

The proximity profile defines a proximity notification alert that the supporting device sends to the device to advertise its shared access service to the network for devices within range. In one embodiment, upon receiving the proximity notification alert the device joins the supporting device’s shared access service and briefly connects to the network to receive push notifications or other messages, before disconnecting.

apple_bluetooth_le_hotspot_2
The patent also details how a low-power connection protocol such as Bluetooth could prove to be advantageous as the first device remains in a low-power background mode while connecting to a network with the ability to receive push notifications:

In one embodiment, the short-range connectability to the supporting device is provided over a low-power enabled connection protocol such as Bluetooth. In a typical embodiment, the device is able to maintain itself in a low-power background mode while joining the supporting device's shared access service and briefly connecting to the network. In this manner the device may perform such activities as establishing intermittent network presence for receiving push notifications and other messages or updates, or for engaging in other network-related activities while advantageously remaining in low power mode.

Apple has long been rumored to be working on the iWatch, which is expected to provide common functions along with additional biometric integration in addition to serving as an accessory to iOS devices. Apple CEO Tim Cook stated during the company's fourth quarter earnings call last month that Apple still plans to introduce new product categories in 2014, which is a likely timeframe for the release of the iWatch as previously indicated by multiple sources. A report last week also indicated that Apple was close to striking a deal with LG Display to provide OLED displays for the device.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Tag: patent
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

cmChimera Avatar
97 months ago
They are patenting internet over bluetooth? How is that new?
And here's why people criticize patents so much. They don't understand a patent, and immediately jump to the idea that there's nothing new.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
newagemac Avatar
97 months ago
no, they are patenting using a low powered protocol on a client device to negotiate a handshake that allows for use of internet services (and other device specific data feeds) from a host device as needed.

Internet over bluetooth has been a thing for a while. Having connection that doesn't drain the battery on either device is a bit more novel.
Furthermore, they are patenting one particular method that they invented to accomplish this. This is what the ignorant who cry over patents don't understand above all. Patents are for methods and processes you came up with to accomplish something. Other people can accomplish the exact same thing before you or after you but as long as you (and they) come up with a different method to accomplish it, then it is patentable.

And that in a nutshell is why the patent system works so well. Lots of different people can come up with lots of different methods to accomplish the same thing and patent it. They take their methods to market and one eventually proves to be the best way to do it. This results in more money for the inventor because the others have to use their own somewhat inferior methods for a while. Eventually the patent expires and anyone can use that particular method. This cycle benefits society and has been doing so for over a century.

But everyone wants to be the guy who profits the most from the "winning" patent design so that incentivizes companies to actually go look for methods to solve problems that have yet to be solved as well as invent new and better methods to solve problems that have already be solved. Otherwise known as R&D. And the cycle continues for the benefit of society.

It's not a coincidence as the number of patents filed has increased that there has been an increase in tech advances. Just look at the last decade. Patent filings, new methods, and tech advances have exploded. Tech progress has been phenomenal recently and consumers have benefited greatly.

As long as we don't allow patent leaches to profit off the work of the innovators, this should continue. The innovators certainly won't continue if they don't get protection from the patent leeches because if anyone can be successful by just leeching off the hard work of others, then the innovators won't stick their necks out to take those risks that benefit us.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
syndalis Avatar
97 months ago
They are patenting internet over bluetooth? How is that new?

no, they are patenting using a low powered protocol on a client device to negotiate a handshake that allows for use of internet services (and other device specific data feeds) from a host device as needed.

Internet over bluetooth has been a thing for a while. Having connection that doesn't drain the battery on either device is a bit more novel.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lewisd25 Avatar
97 months ago
My wrist is ready.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ries Avatar
97 months ago
They are patenting internet over bluetooth? How is that new?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jsameds Avatar
97 months ago
This thing has to be nicer than the galaxy gear.

Played with it at an AT&T store and it is such a joke.

I think any other smart watches are nicer by default, surely ;)
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

flat imac 3d 3 teal

Reliable Leaker Hints Redesigned Colorful iMac to Debut at 'Spring Loaded' Event

Saturday April 17, 2021 4:43 am PDT by
Reliable leaker known as l0vetodream has hinted that Apple may debut its rumored redesigned and colorful iMac at its "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20. In a tweet, the leaker posted an image of Apple's logo used for marketing the upcoming event and an image of the retro rainbow Apple logo alongside the colorful lineup of G3 iMacs. Apple leaker Jon Prosser previously reported that...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...
important battery message iphone 11

Some iPhone 11 Users Seeing Increased Battery Health Percentages After iOS 14.5 Recalibration Process

Friday April 16, 2021 6:32 am PDT by
In the sixth beta of iOS 14.5, Apple introduced a recalibration process for the battery health reporting system on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to address inaccurate battery health estimates for some users. Apple said this process might take a few weeks to be completed, and now that two weeks have passed since the sixth beta of iOS 14.5 was released, some users are...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
Top Stories 57 Feature

Top Stories: Apple Event Next Tuesday, Mini-LED iPad Pro, iPhone Rumors

Saturday April 17, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
It feels like we've been waiting forever for new Apple products, but the wait is almost over as Apple has announced a media event for next Tuesday, so make sure to tune into MacRumors for full coverage of everything Apple announces. While that was the big news this week, we also got some new details on Apple's iPhone plans for 2022 and 2023 courtesy of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and we also saw...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Anker's MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack

Thursday April 15, 2021 9:39 am PDT by
Anker, a company known for its range of accessories designed for Apple products, recently came out with one of the first MagSafe-compatible battery packs, so we thought we'd check it out to see how it compares to a standard battery pack. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, Anker's power bank looks like a typical battery pack, but it has magnets built in...
iphone 13 pro max cads eap

iPhone 13 Series CAD Leaks Reveal Larger Camera Dimensions

Friday April 16, 2021 1:53 am PDT by
Information and alleged CADs of the upcoming iPhone 13 series, shared in a video from EverythingApplePro, indicates that Apple plans to make this year's iPhone camera module significantly bigger, likely to make way for larger sensors and sensor-shift stabilization. According to the CADs shared in the video, the iPhone 13 mini, Pro, and Pro Max camera module will all be a "perfect square."...
jaguar car homekit

User Adds Car to HomeKit for In-App Controls and Automations, Showing Future Potential

Thursday April 15, 2021 6:17 am PDT by
Blogger Siobhán Ellis has successfully integrated their electric car into their Apple HomeKit setup, adding in-app toggles for door locking, climate control, and more. The setup, which is outlined in detail on the blog Practical HomeKit, allows multiple elements of a Jaguar I-Pace electric vehicle to be monitored, controlled, and automated using the Home app. Using a HomeBridge plugin for ...
siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...