On Tuesday Apple was granted patent for iTime, a “wrist-worn electronic device” by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent information conveys Apple’s idea regarding wearable technology. The most important aspect is that Apple plans on producing a device with interchangeable parts. The wrist-band will be a receptacle probably for health, media, fitness or other specialized gadgets. Apple plans to immerse iTime in its already established ecosystem. In the Apple iTime patent, the wristband is described as a device to be part of “personal wireless environment.” Data will thus be exchanged with other Apple devices like the iPhone and Macbook, as expected. The wristband recalls of what happened with the sixth-generation iPod Nano, as the tiny media player received a number of wrist strapping solutions. Apple recently recruited a sales executive from Tag Heuer, the Swiss luxury watches company, specifically for Apple’s smartwatch project. The device is expected to launch in the fall.
Apple iTime patent reveals the probable functions of the company’s smartwatch
The patent application contains a number of characteristics of the future iTime. Among others, accelerometers, GPS modules, haptic feed-back, antennas, gyroscopes, and wireless packages might increase the device’s functionality. According to InformationWeek, ‘wristband’ appears 138 times in the document, a clear indication of a versatile approach. But what functions would need specific hardware to provide service? A smartwatch sporting Android OS can perform most of the functions imagined so far for a wearable device. The challenge from now on would be to put the instruments such as gyroscopes, accelerometers and processors to work in novel and exciting ways. Clearly having a frame supporting various devices reduces costs. As the patent application was filed in 2011, Apple must have taken precautions to make sure a future technology could be implemented in the concept at a later date.
The wristband will feature media player controls and control over apps or system functions. Moreover, the patent includes the possibility to link the iPhone to iTime to offer information about the smartphone’s location. Control through gestures is specified in the patent application as well. Arm and wrist gesture will activate features or perform specific tasks. By shaking, bouncing or taping the device, users will probably have the possibility to answer phone calls, among other, as AppleInsider notes.
Albert J. Golko, Mathias W. Schmidt and Felix Alvarez are credited as the inventors of iTime in the Apple iTime patent application package.