Apple patent might point to an Apple Watch on your finger

(Image credit: Apple Insider / Apple)

What you need to know

  • A new wearable patent has been granted to Apple.
  • It's for an "electronic ring computing device."
  • The ring could be used to measure swiping gestures for other devices.

Apple has been granted a new patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office and it's a doozy. Titled "Devices, methods, and user interfaces for a wearable electronic ring computing device," it's easy to see why that could be exciting.

Spotted by Apple Insider, the patent suggests that rather than solely being a health monitor or input device for another machine, the ring could be seen as a mini Apple Watch instead.

The ring contains a processor, wireless transceiver, power supply, and a microphone. There would also be other sensors included within the ring to enable hand gestures to be detected and interpreted, along with a dial control perpendicular to the ring's circumference that could function like the Apple Watch's Digital Crown.

Amazingly the patent also mentions that a touchscreen could be part of the ring's design, although it would obviously be on a much smaller scale than Apple Watch. Haptic feedback would also be available, allowing the ring to notify its wearer of things like notificaations and such. Being able to use the ring to enable gesture-based control of another device is also mentioned.

Among the gestures Apple defines include pointing at a separate device using the ring-wearing finger to prompt a wireless link, a swiping or flicking gesture to change selections in a menu, rotating the finger or device, and the jolt of a user touching or tapping a surface.

Now is a good time to remind everyone that Apple throws a lot of patents at the wall and not all of them stick to a device that ships to stores. We'd love to see what this patent could turn into, but when or if that will happen isn't something we can answer. Nor, we suspect, can Apple.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.