Apple has been granted new patents that cover Apple Watch Series 2’s clever new speaker, which has the ability to expel water after a swim workout, and futuristic smart straps that could one day bring new functionality to its wearable devices.
Apple seemed pretty proud of Apple Watch Series 2’s new speaker technology, which it explained on stage during its big keynote earlier this month. The company has developed a system that allows the speaker to push water out of the Watch after it has been in water.
Apple can’t prevent water from getting into the speaker because that would mean it needs to make it airtight. If it did that, you wouldn’t be able to hear the speaker at all, and it would be pointless. So it had to find a way to allow water in, then expel it when necessary.
The speaker it developed for that has now been patented, titled “Liquid expulsion from an orifice,” which prevents rival companies from stealing the idea for their wearable gadgets.
“Buried deeper in the document are passages relating to liquid evacuation through powering of the device’s speaker drivers,” reports AppleInsider. This appears to be the method Apple is using for Apple Watch Series 2.
Apple was also granted a second patent today for a “Portable electronic device connector.” It describes a method of adding new functionality to Apple Watch by taking advantage of its diagnostics port found beneath one of the strap lugs.
The six contacts that make up this port could allow future “smart straps” to add new features to the device, such as extended battery packs, GPS and other radios, cellular modems, and more. Apple is already using the port to drive iPad minis in its retail store displays.
“As for today’s patent grant, Apple details potential strap-based smart accessories that connect to a Watch base unit via a set of retractable six-pin connectors,” AppleInsider adds. “It appears the company is at least investigating potential options that could launch alongside future device iterations.”
Of course, Apple patents are never a guarantee of things to come, so don’t get your hopes up for Apple Watch smart straps just yet. However, it’s an idea that makes a lot of sense — and those smart straps could be a big money-maker.