Apple considers Apple Watch upgrades using replaceable backplates

“Apple is still considering ways to make the Apple Watch more useful, with one idea consisting of adding extra sensors, batteries, and other components to the wearable device, using exchangeable backplates that clip to the back using the same slots at the top and bottom used to connect the Watch Band,” Malcolm Owen reports for AppleInsider.

“Granted today, Apple’s patent for an ‘Auxiliary electronic device attachable to a wearable electronic device’ shows how an add-on plate could be placed on the Apple Watch rear, while two sections on either end extend to fit into the band slots,” Owen reports. “In order to keep the Apple Watch wearable, the extended sections include their own slots for the band to fit inside. ”

Owen reports, “This arrangement gives the effect of minimal changes to the appearance of the Apple Watch when viewed from the front, but while it will make the entire assembly thicker, the extra plate section will be partially hidden from view due to being placed between the Apple Watch and the user’s wrist.”

Read more, and see Apple’s patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Could be used for specialized medical technology! However, we’d rather Apple add functionality via Apple Smartbands wherever possible to avoid making Apple Watch any thicker than it already is.


    1. Why not letting us send back our SS, Edition and Hermés Watches to Apple, and have Apple open them, replace them every two years with the latest Watch Series (Series 4 to 6, or 5 to 7, etc.) for a nominal fee. In that case, for the three more costly models, the cases we pay the most for become an upgradeable, lifetime investment if we so desire subject to our wanting to own all three watches or new types. Bet the owners of the 18k Series 1 Edition wish they had had that option.

      1. By a nominal fee, you mean about 50% of the original cost. I’m sorry, but Apple isn’t about to take any loss of profits and they clearly expect you to buy a NEW AppleWatch every two years. Honestly speaking, such an upgrade would be unprecedented for any company to undertake. At least I’ve never heard of such a thing being done.

        Of course, the Air Force does retrofit B-52 Stratofortresses with newer avionics and weaponry but for certainly more than the original cost of those wonderfully long-lasting bombers.

        1. You are absolutely right, this is the same mentality that expects Apple to make a Mac Pro that is user-upgradeable for the lifetime of the user. I don’t like the idea of buying a new Apple Watch every 2 years, but my Gen 1 is going on 3 years and assuming the ability to upgrade or at least to operate for 3+ years for new models, the functionality is worth it.

  1. “Could be used for specialized medical technology!”

    Much more likely this “expander” is meant for something like this than any other consideration.

    1. That seems to be the logical reason behind this patent, it’s clearly to facilitate something which most people don’t need included as standard, such as specialised medical technology.

      Patents try to cover as many eventualities as possible, so it’s no surprise that the patent covers possibilities such as additional battery power, but I note the way that the word “auxiliary” is used so frequently. It’s to supplement what the Apple Watch already does by providing additional capabilities.

      I don’t think it has anything to do with routinely upgrading regular watches, but is intended to provide additional facilities which would be unnecessary for most users, but could be life changers for some.

      If Apple were to be able to offer something like an automatic blood sugar monitoring facility, it’s not something which most users would need and the the extra bulk, cost and power consumption would be undesirable to those users. However for somebody with diabetes, an auxiliary module to allow continuous monitoring via special sensors would be highly desirable and well worth paying for. The same could be said about many other conditions which could be monitored via an auxiliary module clipped onto the Apple Watch.

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