Joining The Band, The Apple Watch Band
By Jeff Sayre
Months before the Apple Watch was revealed (then speculatively referred to as the iWatch), there were rumors that the watch may have as many as ten biosensors. However, at the big reveal this past Tuesday only one biosensor, a heart-rate monitor, was mentioned.
This week new reports came out reaffirming the rumors that the Apple Watch may indeed have more sensors yet to be revealed. One exciting possibility that struck me as I was watching the live reveal video was that the wristband may be one of the secrets Apple is planning to leverage.
Based on the below images, which are screen captures from the above linked to reveal video, could Apple be scheming to place additional sensors in the wristbands?
Look at the image above. Do you see the three “contacts” on the inside surface of the removed band’s base? The center “contact” is likely part of the band’s release mechanism, but the outer two “contacts” are darkened, as if nothing is there.
Now look at the next image above showing a sports band. Do you see how the outer two “contacts” have something in those positions?
The differences in renders between the two video graphics might have a simple explanation. For instance, it may just be a minor detail that was not caught when the graphic animations were created (I assume these are graphic animations and not actual video of a real life Apple Watch). Perhaps all three of what I am calling “contacts” may be required to properly secure the band to the Apple Watch body. But it might also be that the two outer “contacts” could serve in an additional capacity — that of signal transmission.
Could these outer “contacts” allow a connection to the Apple Watch’s processors? Could they allow for signals to be sent between wristband-based sensors and the Apple Watch’s onboard computer? If so, the possibilities could be astonishing!
Update One April 12, 2015: See this MacRumor’s article for an enticing post that lends some solid evidence to my thoughts on this issue. Retail Apple Watches Still Have a Hidden Diagnostic Port
Update Two April 12, 2015: Based on the image in the above MacRumor’s post, I’m now thinking that the the outer two “contacts” might actually be used for securing the wristband to the Apple Watch and that the central, single “contact” might be the true contact.
Why Put Tech In the Wristband?
In a Google Plus post I made two and a half months ago, I offered the following thoughts on the Apple Watch (then called the iWatch):
If the iWatch (Apple’s, Google’s, etcetera) does not utilize as much of the wristband as possible to position sensors and other components, then I will not be interested. I’m not looking for another wristwatch that has interchangeable bands that require the user to pony up more money.
That is a big waste of real estate. I gave up wearing watches more than ten years ago as the wristband annoyed me. It did nothing other than hold the device on your wrist. I decided I would not put any type of bracelet on my wrist until it maximized the benefit for the space it occupied on my skin.
If the iWatch is supposed to be a health (even medical) device, then drop the tech-free strap and add a series of sensors into the band. Let’s be fashion forward by being future forward. Wristbands without tech should be a thing of the past.
Note: Since that post, I am beginning to understand why Apple views wearable tech as a fashion accessory. Such devices that touch your skin, that hug your body, are personal objects. Having choices matter to users.
If this conjecture is true, that some Apple Watch wristbands will have embedded sensors, then I retract my above comment that “I’m not looking for another wristwatch that has interchangeable bands that require the user to pony up more money“. If Apple has innovated the Apple Watch to enable Apple Watch bands that have interchangeable tech, that have additional sensors, then it could very well be of great interest to me and many others.
A Few of My Previous Apple Watch Posts on Google Plus
Some Outside Resources