Would you wear an Apple Smart Ring? Patent points to notification-controlling jewelry

Apple Smart ring patent
(Image credit: Apple)

If you could imagine the perfect wearable smart device, what would it be? If you said a ring, then Apple could be working on making your dream a reality.

According to a new patent, "Ring Input Device With Pressure-Sensitive Input," Apple could 

be working on an Apple Watch-style device for haptic notifications that will sit on your finger.

This isn’t the first time that Apple has applied for a Smart ring patent, with some dating all the way back to 2015. This latest patent is all about the way a Smart ring would notify its wearer of incoming messages and other information using haptics.

"Because finger rings are routinely worn and are often small, electronic finger rings can be employed as unobtrusive, everyday communication devices that are readily available to communicate wirelessly with other devices capable of receiving those communications."

Apple Patent

(Image credit: Apple)

"Although ring input devices may be primarily described and illustrated herein as electronic finger rings for convenience of explanation," the patent adds, "it should be understood that the examples of the disclosure are not so limited, but also include ring input devices that are worn as part of a necklace, hoop earrings, electronic bracelet bands that are worn around the wrist, electronic toe rings, and the like."

"Ring input device... can be utilized to provide wireless inputs for a wide variety of devices. For example, ring input device can be used to provide inputs to companion wearable devices such as smart watches, health monitoring devices, headphones, ear buds and the like."

"[They] can also be used to provide inputs to handheld devices such as smartphones (e.g., scrolling through a list using rotating outer band), tablet and laptop computing devices, media players, styluses, wands or gloves for computer-generated environments, and the like,"

"In addition, ring input device can also be used to provide inputs to stationary devices such as desktop computers, smart home control and entertainment devices (e.g., turning on a lamp, changing a TV channel), and the like."

Essentially, your ring would be able to notify you of important notifications in a very lowkey and unassuming way as well as work with other devices around your home. For example, you could be in the cinema and get a haptic vibration through the Smart ring to tell you you’ve missed a call. Think of it as the Apple Watch for people who don’t want a watch and a display.

If you like it, then you should put a ring on it  — iMore’s take

Smart rings like the Oura Ring already exist, and personally, I’m not a fan of the idea. I think they work for very specific use cases and are a great way to have notifications subtly on your finger, but the problem with the rings I’ve seen so far is that they look like smart wearables — clunky rings that stick out like a sore thumb and lose the charm that jewelry has in the first place.

That said, Apple has the ability to change how we perceive Smart rings and make them stylish pieces of jewelry with added functionality. Just look at the way an Apple Watch today looks nice on a wrist versus any other smartwatch on the market, which ultimately looks like a toy. Apple has even worked with luxury brands like Hermes to make sure that the Apple Watch is a fashion statement as well as a piece of technology. Imagine Apple working with designers to create beautiful jewelry with smart functionality. 

The patent also mentions necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, so maybe Apple could take Smart rings to the next level by creating Smart jewelry. If any company were to get a Smart ring right, it would be Apple, but as with all patents, this idea might never see the light of day.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit. 

  • Annie_M
    Would I wear one? Since I have an Apple Watch, which I love, I highly doubt it. But then, you never know!!! 🤪
  • Wotchered
    Male jewellery is always to be deprecated.
  • Mars20
    Wotchered said:
    Male jewellery is always to be deprecated.
    Men’s wedding rings are not!
  • Lee_Bo
    I might…..might….wear one as a pinky ring.