Breaking News Emails
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.
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.
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.