Apple continues to explore how wristbands might augment the feature list of future smartwatch models, as shown in a new patent granted today.

First picked up by AppleInsider, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published details on Apple's designs for "Modular functional band links for wearable devices", which first surfaced last April.

The patent describes a band made of a series of modular links containing electronic components, which are attached to each other using a flexible conductive material.

Apple Watch band patent
A number of possible uses are mentioned for the linked design, including batteries, speakers, kinetic power generators, haptic feedback devices, and more. Biometric sensors are also covered, such as blood pressure monitors and sweat sensors.

The modular accessory links are arranged serially across a power circuit and communications bus, with module control achieved by way of a unique identifier assigned to each link. In one example, an audio signal is sent from the timepiece through the chain of linked modules and activates only those modules assigned with a particular identifier.

Other examples describe links being used as external ports for interfacing with off-device components such as expandable memory modules. In most of the embodiments, the modular links connect to a 6-pin diagnostic port on the watch.

As always, there's no suggestion that the invention should be expected to appear in a finished product, but the patent does highlight Apple's continuing search for ways to expand the capabilities of a future Apple Watch or other wearable beyond the chassis, which could ultimately extend the life cycle of the watch body and allow future updates to come in the form of new band accessories.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Tag: Patent
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

djcerla Avatar
92 months ago
I highly doubt this will happen. It's messy and breakable...though so is Apple under cook
Apple is about to report their best quarter in history.

Look elsewhere for a "messy and breakable" company, i.e. Samsung, or Volkswagen. Or Google, that keeps failing at a massive rate with only one product keeping the boat afloat.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jmh600cbr Avatar
92 months ago
I highly doubt this will happen. It's messy and breakable...though so is Apple under cook
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SteveJobs2.0 Avatar
92 months ago
They should patent a ton of ideas and then never produce them, ensuring no one else does either.
That's what they are effectively doing, thus decreasing the overall output of innovation in the world.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacFan23 Avatar
92 months ago
Hasn't this idea been a thing for a while now?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Arkanok Avatar
92 months ago
They're already charging $600 CDN for their stainless steel link bracelet, I can't even begin to imagine how much this would cost us.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
samsung galaxy ring

'Apple Ring' Allegedly in Development to Rival Samsung Galaxy Ring

Tuesday February 20, 2024 2:27 am PST by
Apple is speeding up development of a smart ring that can be worn on the finger to track users' health biometrics, claims a new report coming out of Korea. Teaser image of Samsung Galaxy Ring shown at Galaxy Unpacked in January Apple has toyed with the idea of a ring wearable for several years, as indicated by several patents, but with Samsung preparing to bring its own product to market, the ...
volvo s60 drivers apple maps

iOS 17.4 Beta Adds CarPlay Option to Show Upcoming Maneuvers in Instrument Cluster

Tuesday February 20, 2024 10:47 am PST by
The fourth beta of iOS 17.4 that Apple released today adds a new CarPlay feature, according to the notes that Apple provided to developers. In supported CarPlay vehicles, there's now an Apple Maps option to show information about upcoming maneuvers in the instrument cluster. CarPlay users will be able to swap the display type between the main and instrument cluster by tapping on the map...
m3 macbook pro 14 16

Apple Now Selling Refurbished M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro Models

Monday February 19, 2024 5:04 pm PST by
Apple today began offering refurbished versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M3 Pro and M3 Max chip options, offering the machines at a discount for the first time since their October 2023 release. The release of M3 Pro and M3 Max models on Apple's refurbished store comes almost two weeks after the entry-level 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro first appeared on the store....
apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Said iPhone Driver's Licenses Will Expand to These 8 U.S. States

Monday February 12, 2024 7:51 am PST by
In 2021, Apple introduced a feature that lets residents of participating U.S. states add their driver's license or ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, providing a convenient and contactless way to display proof of identity or age. Unfortunately, states have been slow to adopt the feature since it was first announced in September 2021, with IDs in the Wallet app only available ...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

Apple's Upcoming OLED iPad Pro Models Rumored to Be Much Thinner

Tuesday February 20, 2024 1:39 pm PST by
Apple is planning to update the iPad Air and iPad Pro lineups as soon as March, and the new iPad Pro models will be significantly thinner according to dimensions shared by 9to5Mac. Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site claims that the larger version will be more than 1mm thinner. The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro measures in at 6.4mm thick, but the new model is said to be 5mm ...