When you think of Apple and wearable technology, most will jump to the Apple Watch. That's fair enough – it's currently the only wearable product in the brands' catalogue. It's also an incredibly popular device.
Recently, we saw the launch of the Apple Vision Pro, which is set to be the second wearable device in the Apple range. And, if a recent patent application is anything to go by, an Apple Smart Ring could arrive soon after.
It's not exactly a new concept. This has been rumoured since pre-Covid times, with a host of different patents and rumours suggesting the brand were looking to expand into the segment.
Still, the latest patented design certainly looks closer to what we'd expect than previous ones. This one specifically focuses on the internal components, and how users can be notified by, and interact with, the device.
Perhaps most interesting is the mechanical design on show. A static internal ring is paired with a rotating outer band, presumably with the intention of directing input. There's also an electronic jewel shown, which could be used as another method for input.
They're far from the only brand interested in the smart ring space. We've heard similar rumours about a Samsung Galaxy smart ring, which has even reportedly been leaked in the past. They would join popular brands in the space like Oura and Evie, both of whom enjoy a respectable reputation for their own devices.
Apple – as you'd probably expect – seem to be taking a slightly more leftfield approach with their designs. None of the aforementioned devices use a mechanical rotating element, so including that would instantly set an Apple device apart.
So, when can you expect to see one on the shelves of your local Apple Store? It's a good question. As we know, patents are no guarantee that a device or feature will ever be publicly available. Big brands like Apple will register all kinds of technology – some will see the light of day, others go no further.
It's worth saying, though, that Apple have been continually putting in patents around this concept for years now. It's still no guarantee, but it's a positive sign – why would they dedicate so much time to something if they didn't at least hope to release it? This is a much more refined design, too.
A sign that it's coming soon? Not exactly. But it's the closest we've come yet.