Apple Smart Ring could be on the way – will it replace the Apple Watch?

Is Apple expanding its wearables horizons?

Amazon Echo Loop concept
(Image credit: Amazon)

The Apple Watch Series 5 kept its pace at the head of the current crop of smartwatches when it launched last month, but progress never sleeps, and a newly filed patent could suggest Apple is looking beyond smartwatches to grab a spot at the top of another wearables racket.

Yesterday, Apple was granted a patent, which was discovered by Patently Apple, titled "devices, methods, and user interfaces for a wearable electronic ring computing device." 

Apple first filed for a smart ring patent in 2015, one year before Microsoft filed patents for its own ring-based tech. Fast-forward to last month and Amazon announced its own smart ring in the form of the Echo Loop.

Diagrams show the Apple Ring, for want of a better term, to have 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. 

There's also a version of the technology shown without a screen at all, just a touchpad on the inside of the ring. 

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

Similar to the Apple Watch, health-monitoring biometrics could be measured from the ring. Microphones are shown to be included in the design, presumably to make full use of Siri in lieu of more complex controls available on larger devices.

With Amazon's Echo Loop officially in the pipeline, the newly-awarded patent could push Apple to making serious moves into the smart ring market. 

Might this smaller, arguably simpler interface fully replace the Apple Watch, if it connects to your phone, Siri and other smart devices around the home? Time will tell if Apple decides the devices can sit alongside each other, or the ring is really the one to rule them all.

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Matt Evans

Matt Evans now works for sister brand TechRadar, covering all things relating to fitness and wellness. He came to as staff writer before moving on, and was previously on Men's Health, and slightly counterintuitively, a website devoted to the consumption of Scotch whiskey. In his free time, he could often be found with his nose in a book until he discovered the Kindle.