Apple patent application reveals sensor-laden ‘Apple Ring’

“Today the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of their next wearable computers in the form of a ring that incorporates touch-sensitive surfaces, gesture sensors, and/or voice-input recognition, a camera, microphone and more,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple. “Apple ring could be used with a smart TV, according to Apple, be wirelessly charged in your car wireless via a smart steering wheel and much more.”

“Apple’s invention describes a new wearable computer in the form of a ring with touch-sensitive surfaces, gesture sensors, and/or voice-input recognition, a camera, microphone and more,” Purcher reports. “In some embodiments, the wearable ring device further includes a biometric sensor for sensing biometric information of the user and/or a near-field-communication transmitter for transmitting data related to the user.”

“The ring computing device is more portable than a mouse, doesn’t require a computer, doesn’t require eye contact with the touch screen, allows the user to not be tied to a computer, cellular phone, or tablet to certain control electronic devices (e.g., televisions), reduces the inefficiencies of mode switching by not requiring a user to move his or her hand off a keyboard to move a mouse or touchpad, and is smaller, more portable, and less obtrusive than existing devices,” Purcher reports. “The ring computing device can be operated using a single hand; the ring does not need to be put aside when, for example, the user needs to hold another object. The ring computing device can be carried unobtrusively for periods of time by the user and used when the user requires (to, for example, control light of a room as the user enters the room or to control devices at work or in a car).”

Apple patent application illustration: Apple Ring
Apple patent application illustration

“This isn’t a design patent, so the graphics don’t reflect what Apple intends to ever release,” Purcher reports. “This is a utility patent that describes the Apple Ring functionality and purpose.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Car key? Apple TV Remote? Health and fitness device? Home Automation controller? Wow!

Apple’s entry into wearable computing: iRing, not iWatch? – March 20, 2014
Without Apple to lead the way, current crop of clumsy wearable gadgets not ready for prime time – January 10, 2014
Analyst: Apple to release full-blown, ‘iRing’-controlled, carrier-subsidized ‘iTV’ television this holiday season – June 5, 2013
Analyst: Apple ‘iTV’ with ‘mini iTV’ and ‘iRing’ motion controller to launch this year – April 3, 2013


    1. The Apple Ring is one of the expected outcomes of Apple’s process of ecosystem development, functional integration, and device miniaturization to promote wearability.

      The Apple Ring will supplement the iOS ecosystem, similar to the Apple Watch and other wearables to come. Eventually wearables will likely become implantables and obtain power from blood glucose or the like.

      Without a display and with limited volume for batteries, the Apple Ring will be somewhat constrained in terms of its initial functionality. It will likely require an iPhone, just like the Apple Watch. Over time, however, the Apple Watch and Ring could evolve to link with retinal displays and other resources to become hubs for mobile computing.

      Again, this is all part of the natural progression: mainframes – minicomputers – desktop computers – laptop computers – tablets – smartphones – wearables. This is a progression towards portability and increased power/watt. There is far more computing capacity in the iPhone 6s/Plus than in many of the “supercomputers” in the early 1990s. That is not to say that the larger computing devices will disappear entirely. Big displays and massively parallel computers will be needed for a variety of tasks. But wearable computers will become more numerous than the larger devices, as demonstrated by eight years of iPhone history.

      It would be interesting to see a chart of worldwide computing power since 1970. I would hazard a wild guess that the hundreds of millions of smartphones sold in just the last few years represent greater total computing power than all of the supercomputers combined.

  1. This came up a few years ago. People were wondering if t would be the remote for AppleTV.

    I see this being worn on the “pointer finger” to allow quick presses by the thumb.

    Probably far in the future btw. I’d guess 5-10 years out.

  2. We have ten fingers and only two wrists. This could be up to ten times bigger than the Apple Watch.

    Samsung is whipping up a copy right now for sale in one month. Their R&D department is going mad as they line up at the photocopier.

  3. Wow. Making technology smaller and putting it in a different format. I’ll get excited when Apple release something and make it useable. As this say’s it’s not a design patent, so almost pointless to get excited/interested in.

  4. Personally I think a thimble/glove type device for the thumb would be a better idea for an interface than a ring.. Think something along the lines of a multitouchpad shaped like a small glove over the thumb with sensors on the outside surface where you can gesture/tap with the other 4 fingers. Heck, you could get infants to actually learn to interact with devices by sucking their thumb.. 😀

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