iTime Patent Potentially Describes Apple’s Smartwatch Aspirations
Apple has won an important patent this Tuesday: the U.S Patent and Trademark Office has granted the iPhone maker US Patent No. 8,787,006 for a “Wrist-worn electronic device and methods therefore” which equates to an electronic device dubbed iTime. In fact, the iTime device seems to tie in with speculation about the iWatch (via AppleInsider).
The patent concerns a device worn on the wrist that connects to the iPhone, iPad or computers, and the watch straps integrate sensors and other circuitry to augment its performance – potentially revealing Apple’s smartwatch plans.
Dubbed iTime, the device contains an accelerometer, GPS module, Wi-Fi, and it sports a haptic feedback mechanism. What’s interesting though is the ecosystem the smartwatch can interact with, such as nearby iPhone, laptop or personal computer.
Using a wired or wireless connection the smartwatch can connect to a cellular or Internet-connected device, it is also able to receive notification when synced with a nearby phone, alert the user using haptic feedback, allow incoming calls, text messages, social networks and news network feeds, etc., all of which are displayed on the device’s screen. The patent also outlines features such as alerts when the user has left the smartwatch behind, had it stolen, or is out of range.
What’s interesting is how users control the device: instead of using fingers, users will be able to shake, bounce, tap or otherwise physically interact with the smartwatch.
Another aspect of embodiment of the invention pertains to use of gestures with one’s arm or wrist to provide a user input to an electronic wristband. For example, once a notification request is received at an electronic wristband, the electronic wristband can notify its user. The electronic wristband can also seek a response to the notification. In one embodiment, the electronic wristband can monitor one or more sensors to detect a user gesture with the user’s arm or wrist. For example, the sensors can include an accelerometer and/or gyroscope. Typically, the sensors are digital sensors. The gesture can correspond to specific movements of a user’s wrist or arm can vary with implementation. For example, the gesture might be a horizontal movement for one user input option (e.g., decline incoming call), and might be a vertical movement for another user input option (e.g., accept incoming call). For example, the gesture might be a single shake (or bounce, tap, etc.) of the user’s wrist for one user input option (e.g., accept incoming call), and might be a pair of shakes (or bounces, taps, etc.) for another user input option (e.g., decline incoming call).
Apple is widely expected to launch the iWatch sometime this year. Sources speaking with Reuters have claimed the Apple smartwatch will sport a 2.5-inch screen, but another rumour claimed a display sized up to 1.8-inch.