A trio of new patents filed by Apple suggest that it could turn to accessories to offer new features and capabilities to the Apple Watch. The patents suggest that the smartwatch’s capabilities would be complemented by interchangeable smart straps or even user-customizeable modular smart bands assembled from individual links.
This modular hardware ecosystem would allow Apple to offer a range of functions without having to incorporate them directly into the watch. For example, everything from batteries and GPS sensors to biosensors to measure everything from blood pressure to temperature and sweat could be supported without the need to include the necessary hardware on the watch itself. Even features like cameras, electricity generators and speakers that might appeal to a smaller segment of consumers could be made available this way.
The patents also suggest that Apple could use the 6-pin diagnostic connector (on the underside of the case) could be used as to connect the smart band to the watch. The port is capable of transferring both power and data in real time, allowing the watch to receive information from the band or various links as well as power them. If Apple opts not to use the port for data communication, it could instead rely on Bluetooth.
The concept of a modular smart band is not new. Perhaps the best known example is the Blocks modular smartwatch which recently raised US$1.6 million with a very successful Kickstarter campaign.
As with other patents, it’s not immediately clear if and when Apple will offer modular smart bands for the current or future Apple Watch models. With a new Apple Watch model expected this fall, Apple could unveil a range of modular bands that would offer both generations of smartwatches new features.
Source : Appleinsider