A new patent filed by Apple talks about how the company could automize strap adjustment based on fit and shape, rather than leave the choice to the users. This method will save users the trouble of finding the right fit, and also ensure that the device sensors interact correctly with the user’s hand.
Sweat can loosen the band a little, especially during workouts or runs. This automation process will make sure it’s kept snug on the user’s hand regardless of the situation. Apple filed for this patent back in 2015 and mentions Andrzej T. Baranski, Serhan O. Isikman, Tyler S. Bushnell, Steven J. Martisauskas and David I. Nazzaro as the inventors of this technology.
The patent described as “Dynamic fit adjustment for wearable electronic devices” with the U.S. Patent No. 9,781,984 basically talks about how an Apple Watch could self-adjust the strapping using a tensioner component. Apple proposes multiple solutions for this including the use of an embedded shape memory wire, gas or fluid bladders that are standalone or built into the strap, and an internal ratcheting apparatus.
The patent also talks about retractable band elements or extendable portions of the device housing which discusses the possibility of the watch band or the Apple Watch itself extending itself towards the user’s skin. Apple will use a number of tightening and loosening modes with each embodiment. There’s the possibility of using the biometric sensors on the Apple Watch to detect the fit of the user and tighten the straps accordingly. Users may also be able to tighten or loosen the grip directly within the Apple Watch UI. The predefined fit levels will make it easier to loosen or tighten the grip.
Apple further discusses how existing watch bands can be automated to fit the user accordingly. The current iteration of the Sport Band can be modified with the necessary components to allow for an adjustable mechanism in the strap. Metal link designs can use Nitinol wire that can tighten or loosen with applied electrical current. It’s unclear as to when these patents will come to life on the Apple Watch, but we’re not holding our breath at the moment.