Imagine swapping out a bright pink Apple Watch band for an earth-toned green one, and your watch face automatically changes to a matching color, omitting the (more annoying than it should be) manual adjustment process. According to a patent application spotted by Patent Apple, maybe we’ll get something like that. The patent describes a wearable and straps with NFC chips, so that the watch automatically takes action when you connect or remove certain accessories.
Just because Apple patents something doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll get it in the future, but it does show that there are some pretty cool ideas floating around within the company. In addition to changing the color palette when you attach the band, the patent says the system can launch a fitness app when you attach an athletic band or turn on the water-purifying sound when you take off a swim ring.
It also says that NFC can be used to communicate with components in the band, such as additional sensors and even displays. The idea of building things into the band isn’t new, but this approach could make it a bit more reliable than using another standard like Bluetooth.
Again, it’s quite possible we’ll never see any of these features. However, the company already has many parts in-house for this. It does color matching when you pair some devices, such as the AirPods Max or certain Beats models, with your iPhone – the images show headphones that are the same color as the one you’re holding. It also has a system for NFC-based automations through the Shortcuts app on iOS. While the Watch doesn’t support that, you can tap it on GymKit-compatible workout equipment to automatically track a workout and sync fitness data.
Unfortunately, there are some dark ways this can be used that also have precedent. The patent notes that the system can be used to tell if you’re using an official Apple band or a third party. “Once it is determined that a tape associated with the device is not an authorized tape, an alert may be issued using an output component of the device and/or one or more functions of the device may be disabled or otherwise modified”, said the statement. patent says. Remember Apple’s unauthorized battery warnings? Imagine getting one because you bought an $8 silicone strap instead of a $49 one, or not being allowed to start training because your watch is afraid your “unauthorized” strap isn’t secure enough ( that is essentially the justification provided by the patent). for this use case).
Still, I can dream that we’ll get the good (cool color matching and other automations) without the bad (DRM for bands). It’s possible that this feature will only work with a new Apple Watch unless it’s secretly built into the current one or can be emulated with existing hardware, but it could be a compelling reason to upgrade – something not every generation has.