The patent application (“Devices and Methods for a Ring Computing Device”), which was filed April 1 and published Thursday, describes a ring worn on the index finger that includes a touchscreen, processor, transceiver and charger and can control other devices.
Apple could be looking to expand beyond the Apple Watch and into further wearable devices after a patent filing surrounding a “ring computing device” emerged. Could be: Apple filed a patent application for a smart ring that would be packed with sensors and use touch, gesture and voice controls.
The problem, at least in terms of technology today, would include among other things battery life: given the not so glorious battery life of the Apple Watch how would you get a day out of the Apple Ring given it would be a smaller device again and yet share (particularly if it has a screen) similar functionality.
A ring-mounted touchscreen could help prevent the user’s hands and arms from “becoming fatigued” in the way they would if they were to hold a traditionally larger touchpad and touchscreen display for extended periods of time, the report explained.
“The light emitted by a touchscreen may be inappropriate in certain social environments or even risky if it gives away the position of a threatened user”, the patent reads.
‘A need therefore exists for a more discreet, safer, more efficient, or more ergonomic way to interact with touch pads or touch screens’.
In a few versions shown in the patent, Apple proposes a built-in microphone for Siri voice commands and a two force feedback motors to convey various notifications and directional information. External devices such as a computer’s mouse cursor, a camera’s shutter or a vehicle’s entertainment and climate control system can also be controlled by using the ring. Moreover, the device is also said to feature support for 3D Touch, that have been introduced in Apple’s latest addition to the iPhone lineup, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
The ring clearly indicates motion detection and the ability to translate that motion into data that will transmit to an external device, perhaps a tablet or a computer.
A wearable ring isn’t as a matter of course out of the domain of other innovation organizations.
Marcos Regis Vescovi and Marcel van Os are credited by Apple for being the inventors and designers for this project.
Keep in mind that this is only a patent application, which says very little about Apple’s actual plans.