Apple has been dominating the smartwatch market for years, so it only makes sense for the Cupertino-based tech giant to move on to the next best thing in wearable circles: smart rings. As expected from the company, there is little to know about the upcoming Apple Smart Ring ahead of its launch; what we do know can be found below, including leaked specs, potential release date, and expected features.
Apple first filed for a smart ring patent in 2015(!), and since then, there's been a steady stream of rumours circulating about the upcoming wearable. The old patents show a "touch-sensitive display with side buttons and a dial control easily manipulated by the thumb when worn on the forefinger of the right hand" – quite a different concept from the smart rings we see today.
2024 will be the year of the best smart rings. Not only because the Samsung Galaxy Ring is almost certain to be launched this year after the brand confirmed its arrival in January, but Oura is also likely to release its fourth generation smart ring. Plus, Amazfit threw its hat in the ring, too, with the announcement of the Helio Ring.
It's not uncommon for Apple to enter an already well-established market segment. That said, considering the interest in smart rings and the lack of market growth in the smartwatch sector, there is a lot riding on the successful launch of the Apple Smart Rings.
Without further ado, let's see what we do (and don't) know about Apple's new compact fitness tracker.
What is the Apple Smart Ring?
The Apple Smart Ring will most likely be very similar to other smart rings available on the market today (see also: what's a smart ring?). Unlike smartwatches and other performance wearables, there is only so much flourish you can add to smart rings.
This means that it's very likely that Apple's first smart ring will be a compact device made from titanium or a similar, lightweight and durable material. It'll feature a number of sensors, including ones capable of tracking heart rate, stress, respiration rate, and sleep.
The best Apple Watches can also measure ECG and track a host of wellness and fitness metrics, so it's not a stretch to assume most of these will make it to Apple's smart ring, eventually.
When will the Apple Smart Ring be released?
Apple is (in)famous for not communicating anything about its upcoming products until they are announced, which is true for the Apple Smart Ring. The earliest we expect to see any sort of details, including the official release date, surface about the upcoming wearable is September 2024 at the annual Apple Event, when the brand often announces its new wearables.
How much will the Apple Smart Ring cost?
There is no pricing information available about the Apple Smart Ring yet, and we don't expect to see any updates on this until Apple officially announces the wearable.
Most smart rings are sold for around $300/ £300/ AU$ 450, so we expect the Apple Smart Ring to follow suit. However, Apple tends to sell its products for somewhat more than other brands, so we wouldn't be surprised if the Apple Smart Ring would cost as much as $350/ £350/ AU$ 530.
There is also the question of subscription fees. Many wearable brands these days offer some form of subscription service to access certain features in their apps. For example, Oura charges $5.99 a month to access its app's full suite of features, while others, like Ultrahuman, offer premium metrics and services via Ultrahuman X.
So far, Apple has refrained from charging extra for any features, so we expect no membership fees involved with the Apple Smart Ring.
Design and features
Apple won't say or confirm any features of its new smart ring until the official announcement. This never stopped people from speculating, of course.
Some patents suggest the Apple Smart Ring will have a rotating bezel, which, quite frankly, is probably not true. Rotating elements on wearables isn't a good idea, as dirt/sand/etc. can get in between the moving parts, essentially grating away the material.
(This is why the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro had no rotating bezel.)
Yet another patent suggests the Apple Smart Ring will work on body parts other than your fingers, including arms, neck, and so on. Unless the smart ring is made of silicone or rubber, we can't see a way of it being expandable to that degree.
It's more likely that the patent suggests compatibility with other Apple products, like watches, although that still wouldn't explain the headband angle. Maybe it references the Apple Vision Pro?
If you want to buy the Apple Smart Ring, stay tuned to learn more about its release date, price and specs.