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Apple may be notorious for its secrecy, but it likes to protect its ideas. Usually that means registering a patent during the development of any promising new technologies. Luckily for us, patents are publicly available, and examining the intellectual property Apple hasn’t yet acted on may give us a hint of what it’s planning for the future.
The latest patent that’s come to our attention details how the Apple Watch could be augmented with new components built into a watch strap, building on ideas that have been rumored for some time now.
Such capabilities could include improved battery life, additional sensors, dynamic lighting, or even a fully-functional camera system. Customers could buy straps to essentially upgrade the Apple Watch in ways that are meaningful to their own usage.
Apple Watch is a mighty impressive piece of technology, cramming all kinds of components into a tiny space. But that space is finite, and in theory, the device could do a lot more with a few extra components fitted into a wearable band. The patent describes how a strap accessory could use an adaptation of the existing pop-in connector to transmit data between the body of the watch and the strap.
Of course, the existence of a patent doesn’t mean this idea will definitely see the light of day. But it does mean Apple is seriously considering the idea. An alternative method of expanding the Apple Watch has also been patented, which involves clip-on backplates that would add features at the expense of making the device thicker and heavier.
In the meantime, check out our hands-on review of Apple Watch Series 5 to see what the current generation can do even without any fancy add-ons.