A patent application confirms that the Apple Ring is real and supports a myriad of miniature technologies. Some of the features are voice command recognition, gesture-based bank transfers and full connectivity with iOS devices.
(Photo : Apple/USPTO)
It appears that the rumored research of an "iRing" was founded. Information on a new patent application from Apple reveals a finger-mounted gadget that is packed with motion sensors, biometric sensors, microphones, a haptic feedback system, cameras and a tiny display.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) published the application on Thursday, under the title "Devices and methods for a ring computing device." The ring is designed to interact with other devices, using touch, motion or voice. iPhones and Apple TVs could be commanded using the prototype.
Numerous inventions presented in the paper came from the Apple Watch model, with notable mentions being the Taptic Engine and Force Touch. It might be that the iPhone manufacturer aims to accessorize or increase its array of wearables, and it is using all its innovations for that.
The hardware contains an onboard processor and touch screens of various dimensions for output. Fashion enthusiasts may appreciate how the chassis can be made out of various materials: gold, platinum or silicone. Nothing is out of the question in the research phase.
The patent showsÂ how users can easily manipulate the ring with the thumb when it is placed on the index finger. However, a Digital Crown-style mechanism presented in the documentation will help the wearer get around more easily. The paper also indicates how a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope module could provide handwriting capture capabilities. Two rings can be worn simultaneously for controlling multiple sides of a host UI.
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity is available, with the last one giving some interesting possibilities. For example, two users can shake hands and transfer money through this simple gesture. The motion is paired with a vocal authorization command that can be used for data transfers as well.
Apple wants more from the tiny gadget than kinetic commands. Taking inspiration from the Siri Remote, the company installed sports microphones for voice commands on the device. Voice dictation could also be in the cards, with a keyword that triggers the start of the action. The process resembles the feature "Hey Siri" found on the Watch.
When it releases the iRing, Apple might have to share the market with 16Lab. The Japanese company showcasedÂ a rather interesting smart ring at CEATEC last year. Technological miniaturization knows smaller and smaller boundaries each day, and users welcome wearable gadgets more than ever. This means Apple might launch an iRing sooner than expected.