Future Apple Ring tipped to join the company's wearable category as Oura, Samsung, and others are placed on notice

Oura Ring
(Image credit: Oura)

When you think of Apple and wearables you probably think about the Apple Watch Ultra 2 or the less rugged Apple Watch Series 9. But amid ongoing disputes over their blood oxygen monitoring capabilities and the technology they use, Apple now seems set to turn its attention to a whole new type of wearable. One that it hasn't dipped its toe into so far, but is far from a new idea for people who have been wearing products from Oura and others for years.

According to a new report, Apple is pondering a new so-called Apple Ring, a wearable ring that would fit around someone's ringer and collect health data throughout the day. Products like the many Oura Rings already do just that, keeping taps on heart rates and yes, blood oxygen levels, but Apple isn't the only company ready to try and eat its lunch. Samsung, a long-time foe of Apple's in the smartphone world, recently announced its own Galaxy Ring product and it's believed that Apple is ready to do battle with the company once more.

While Apple is yet to publicly say anything about the potential viability of an Apple Ring, it wouldn't be a huge surprise if it was taking a closer look at a market that would surely fit well with its existing fitness approach. Capable of capturing data in a similar way to the Apple Watch, a ring is less intrusive and could be a great option for people who want to keep tabs on their health metrics without letting go of their traditional watches — or just don't like wearing a watch period.

Time to put a ring on it

This new report comes via ET News and points to the growing global smart ring market as a key reason that Apple is keen to get involved. Citing Business Research Insight, the report claims that the market is set to increase from $20 million last year to a whopping $197 million by 2031. That's quite an area of growth, and it's one that Apple will no doubt want to get involved in.

While Samsung teased its Galaxy Ring at an Unpacked event in January, it won't officially unveil it until later this year. It isn't yet clear how far along the development cycle Apple is nor when it intends to bring its Apple Ring to market, but ET News seems to suggest that the wheels are very much in motion.

"Apple is also speeding up the development of Apple Ring by registering patents related to smart rings one after another," the report notes. "In November of last year, it filed a patent for an electronic system applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It is a technology that can install a near-field wireless communication circuit and work with other devices."

“As Apple has been steadily releasing smart ring-related patents for years, it seems that pre-development for commercialization is imminent,” an industry official told the report. But that's unlikely to change should Apple get involved and Samsung's entry is already likely to change the landscape considerably. "With the growth of the global healthcare market, the smart ring industry will grow rapidly, centering on North America and the Asia-Pacific region, where the mobile ecosystem has developed," an industry official reportedly said. "It is expected that companies with technological advantages in terms of connection, convenience, and accuracy will lead the market."

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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.

  • TNT
    I have the 1st Oura ring tucked away in a drawer somewhere. Wearing it with my smartwatches seemed like a bit of an overkill.