Future Apple Watch bands could get smarter and even customize your watch face

Apple Watch series 7
(Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

A future watch band could have the smarts to control the Apple Watch it's attached to in interesting ways if a new patent filing is anything to go by.

Whether you're using the best Apple Watch ever made or still rocking that Apple Watch Series 1, being able to swap out bands to suit your mood or the occasion is pretty great. And a patent suggests that future watch bands could go beyond looking and feeling cool. They could also control the Apple Watch that they're attached to.

The patent also suggests that other actions could be carried out when the smart watch bands are used, while extra band-based sensors and displays are even mentioned.

A customizer's dream

The patent, which was first reported by Patently Apple, means that NFC chips built into the bands could then inform the Apple Watch of what to do next. Installing a blue watch band could see the Apple Watch's interface change to something with blue tones, for example. Or adding a sporty band could change the watch face entirely to prep it for a workout. The options are limitless.

However, it's always important to remember that Apple patents just about everything that its engineers come up with and it's equally important to remember that Apple doesn't necessarily turn those patents into products or features. We might never see this patent used. But if we do, it could be pretty cool indeed.

Imagine putting your Ocean Band on your Apple Watch Ultra and observing the watch face change to one more suited to diving. It all seems pretty impressive, and that's before you start to consider those extra sensors that we mentioned earlier.

We've seen Apple Watch band patents before, of course. One previously suggested that a camera could be included in the band, for example. That's yet to happen, of course, but never say never when it comes to Apple.

Apple is expected to unveil a new Apple Watch Series 9 alongside the iPhone 15 later this year. 

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.