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Apple is thinking about a smart ring for notifications and controlling iPhones

Rather than focus on health and fitness tracking, the patent focuses the smart ring to notification mirroring.

Published onAugust 23, 2023

Oura Ring 3 On Hand
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Oura Ring 3
  • Apple has been granted a new patent on a “ring input device with pressure-sensitive input.”
  • This patent envisages a smart ring with a fixed central ring layer and a rotating outer layer.
  • The patent focuses on the ring working primarily as a notification device and input mechanism.

Smart rings are an emerging category of wearables with the potential to give the best smartwatches a run for their money. A smart ring makes a lot of sense for people interested in just a health tracking unit without lugging around yet another display on their person. You could even pair a smart ring with a classic analog watch, and it would be a better style statement than wearing a run-of-the-mill smartwatch. It seems Apple also agrees with some of these ideas, as the company has patented a smart ring, indicating that it could be thinking about making one.

As spotted by AppleInsider, Apple has been granted a patent on a “ring input device with pressure-sensitive input.” In this particular patent, Apple is exploring mechanisms to have the ring act as a notification device and as an input mechanism rather than be a “smart ring” in the conventional sense. This ring patent proposes a fixed center ring and a rotating outer ring.

Apple Smart Ring patent 1
Patent diagram of an Apple Smart Ring

This patent envisions a ring that could “receive a notification from a smartphone and generate a vibrating alert.” Further, the ring is envisioned to send inputs to companion wearable devices like smartwatches, health monitoring devices, headphones, earbuds, etc.

Patents are typically broad in scope, and this patent also envisions the ring being used to provide inputs to smartphones, tablets, computers, smart home devices, and the like.

This isn’t the first time Apple has been spotted dabbling with a ring concept. In the past, the company had been looking at a ring-style wearable with voice control, haptics, and a camera (!), and a separate ring that could mimic the Apple Watch’s functionality.

Samsung has been spotted working on a Galaxy smart ring, with the project said to be in “advanced development.” It would be no surprise if Apple is late to the smart ring party, too, though everyone would expect its entry to redefine the segment. We’re interested in seeing what direction Apple finally takes for its smart ring if it does decide to make one.