Sure, Apple just introduced the fourth iteration of what is looking like a runaway success. The Apple Watch Series 4 has not only achieved critical acclaim, but has managed to become the number one watch in the world, smart, or otherwise.
However, Apple is always looking for ways to out-innovate themselves even if there is no viable competition to push them. AppleInsider reports on an Apple patent filing that would have an Apple Watch band light up in a discrete fashion to reveal activity status, among other possibilities.
“The band has a number of ‘variably illuminable’ portions that are controlled by the main device. This could mean a single section that could be lit up by varying degrees of brightness, or even a segmented portion that could have individual parts lighting up over time.
“As the patent suggests, it could also be made into a number of different shapes, such as a circle, a triangle, or any other arbitrary shape. While these illuminations could be on the external flat side of the band, Apple also believes it could be implemented discretely on the sides of the band.”
Activity alerts are one possibility for what the illumination could indicate. If the illumination has different colors, it can color match with the ring near completion, or that has just been completed. There is also mention of different shapes. This could be for accommodating those who deal with color blindness. Apple values accessibility as a priority.
The mention of discretion is interesting as there are many bits of personal information that some may not feel comfortable with being visible to anyone who happens to be nearby. Low or high heart rate could be one of those indicators. It could even be something as simple as alerting a person of their next appointment.
Some have speculated that this would be one way for Apple to deal with one of the Apple Watch’s biggest problem. It does not have an always-on display, making it awkward for glanceability. This indicator could make some information more available without the need to raise one’s wrist to activate the display.
There remains speculation on how such a device would be powered. For some time, Apple has been trialing the idea of special watch bands that could be powered by the hidden Apple Watch connector.
Third-parties have experimented, proving the concept possible. Apple patents include watch bands that could automatically tighten for more accurate pulse readings.