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Apple Files Patent Application for a Smart Ring With Voice Controls

Is an 'iRing' coming to a finger near you soon?
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Is an "iRing" coming to a finger near you soon? Could be: Apple filed a patent application for a smart ring that would be packed with sensors and use touch, gesture and voice controls.

The patent application ("Devices and Methods for a Ring Computing Device"), which was filed April 1 and published Thursday, describes a ring worn on the index finger that includes a touchscreen, processor, transceiver and charger and can control other devices. The description in the filing, which the blog Apple Insider first reported, makes the smart ring sound a bit like a mini Apple Watch.

The ring, Apple said in its filing, could pair with bigger devices -- perhaps iPhones, Apple TV boxes and other iGadgets -- via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other wireless connections. Wearers would be able to tap the ring's touchscreen, issue voice commands or perform gestures to make the ring carry out tasks.

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Apple detailed one intriguing example: Two "iRing" wearers could use the smart jewelry to share contact information, send each other messages or even exchange money. A user could simply shake a buddy's hand, Apple explained, to transfer $20 instantly.

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The ring could also be packed with a variety of sensors to monitor the wearer's heart rate, temperature, perspiration and other biometric factors, Apple said.

Or the iRing may never become an iThing. Patent applications don't guarantee a patent will be granted, nor that the company will actually make a given device.