Haptic Feedback Wrist Band Could Make for Thinner Apple Watch

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Apple is looking at ways to offload the Apple Watch's haptic feedback mechanism from the device's chassis to the wrist strap, according to a new patent application.

Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by AppleInsider, the patent application for a "Band attachment mechanism with haptic response" describes a band capable of alerting the wearer to incoming alerts and other notifications.

band actuator Apple Watch patent
Applied to Apple's timepiece, the proposed design would serve to reduce the thickness of the chassis by transferring the linear actuator assembly to the bottom or the side of the wearer's wrist.

The document describes a hardware component outside the main casing that is able to move laterally and side to side relative to the watch chassis, with other embodiments able to move up and down or rotate around the axis, in contrast to existing embodiments which are limited to back-and-forth movements.

This would allow the outside mechanisms to reproduce the various movements of Apple's Taptic Engine, such as taps and shakes, with further variations possible depending on the integrated haptic subsystem.

band actuator Apple Watch patent
The patent goes on to describe ways in which haptic devices could be embedded in the smartwatch band, such as within the strap buckle or spring bars, presumably receiving motion instructions via a hardwired connection.

Perhaps in contrast to some of Apple's other products, making the next-generation Apple Watch thinner would likely be welcomed by users. Locating the actuator outside the casing would also likely make haptic feedback more noticeable to the wearer.

The patent application was filed relatively recently, in June of this year, suggesting such a feature could still be included in the next iteration.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Tag: patent
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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46 months ago
NO! Make it thicker with a bigger battery and add two ethernet ports and more ram for the pros!!
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago

NO! Make it thicker with a bigger battery and add two ethernet ports and more ram for the pros!!

Apple Watch with only 16 GB RAM, ridiculous! A real Pro needs 32 GB. Apple is doomed! Tim Cook needs to resign.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago
This would make bands thicker and even more expensive, and it wouldn't be implemented by all 3rd party bands.

What a horrible idea.

If they want to make things thinner, work on battery technology.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago
Let's be honest here - this device was far too thick from day 1. Series 2 was next-level thick, which considerably reduced the appeal of the design.

It is great that they are exploring how it can be made thinner. And for once it seems that the battery isn't going to have to suffer for that objective.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
This would be like a DRM for watchbands. You'd lose features with cheap 3rd party watchbands and all official watchbands would become even more expensive.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago

How are they going to implement it in the leather or the Milan bands ?

You'll be able to buy an adapter for that. Kind of like underwear. But for bands.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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