Revolutionizing Wearable Tech: Apple’s Latest Patent Hints at Smarter Watch Bands

Straps that would be much more than simple fasteners

Revolutionizing Wearable Tech: Apple’s Latest Patent Hints at Smarter Watch Bands
David Bernal Raspall

David Bernal Raspall

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Technology never ceases to amaze us and one of the companies that most demonstrates this is Apple. It does so with its constant research and development of new accessories and technologies that give rise to the most unlikely and amusing patents.


This time, we are dealing with a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a watch band with integrated NFC technology that could be used, among others, to identify unauthorized bands. A hint that Apple Watch straps may become much smarter in the future.

Smart watch bands for smart watches

As reported in Patently Apple, the patent granted to Apple refers to a watch band with an integrated NFC chip that can communicate with the NFC chip inside the Apple Watch itself. Thanks to this technology, the watch can identify which strap is connected and, based on that information, perform various actions.

As with the cases we put on the iPhone, which show an animation of the corresponding color, on the Apple Watch the operating system could dynamically change its interface or dial according to the strap being used, adjusting the design of the screen to match its color.

It would even be possible to define which strap we use for sports and which for everyday use so that, with a simple change, our watch would be ready for the activity we are going to perform.

As we already see with other third-party accessories, the patent would also allow warning of the use of unauthorized third-party straps. In that sense, the patent includes the following text:

“Upon determining that a strap attached to the device is not an authorized strap, a warning may be provided using an output component of the device, and/or one or more features of the device may be disabled or modified.”

Something that, in fact, could give us a hint that, in the future – hopefully, near future – straps could serve as more than just fasteners. The patent goes on to explain that “a particular strap may be associated with an application or service on the wearable electronic device” and also explains that it may include “one or more sensors”, such as “environmental sensors, biometric sensors, gesture sensors, inertial sensors, or the like.”

We have already talked in the past about the possibility of placing sensors in the straps. Sensors that would communicate with our Apple Watch through NFC technology and that would allow us to measure our health variables even more precisely -with the studies that can be derived from it-.

In this sense, the NFC technology integrated in the Apple Watch straps could have multiple interesting applications, beyond the customization of the interface or the activation of specific functions for each strap.


By being able to know when a strap is unofficial, something that would become important by adding sensors to the straps, we can glimpse a future of smart straps. However, as with many patents, there is no guarantee that these features will become a reality in the near future. What is certain is that Apple continues to research technology and accessories for its more than popular Apple Watch.

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David Bernal Raspall

David Bernal Raspall

Architect | Founder of | Apple Technologies Trainer | Writer at Softonic and iDoo_tech, formerly at Applesfera

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