Next! Having blitzed music, phones and tablets, is Cupertino readying Applewear?
Appleology has recently focused on alleged plans for an iWatch, but the folks at Apple Insider reckon that effort goes far beyond just producing a stylish ticker. A.I. says it's clear that Apple is intent on developing an entire range of capabilities and products in the wearable/attachable zone with sensing and comms capabilities for monitoring sports and training, health care, fitness, security, tracking and even industrial clothing.
Apple Insider points to a stream of patent activity. It says the current bout started about three years ago with a diverse patent covering wireless sensing systems designed to quantify things like karate kicks or to provide a movement record for packages (to work out where, when and how something got broken, for instance).
Apple has also recently been awarded rights to patents filed as "Personal items network, and associated methods" which "makes references to dozens of earlier filings, including several from the company itself dating back to 2001."
Radio technologies are key to the Apple effort. It has plans, says A.I., for wireless monitoring devices: one a movement monitor with tiny transmitters in an adhesive strip. There's more, and lots of diagrams, available at Apple Insider.
It could well be that Apple has major ambitions to play in this emerging sector. This is the company, after all, that managed to make fiddling about with a palmtop computer (the iPhone) sexy and status-enhancing whereas B.I. (before the iPhone) such an activity was a nerdy social death-wish - not something the average girl or guy about town would have been caught dead doing.
It makes sense, therefore, that the same company may be able to sprinkle some Apple dust over wearable computing as and when it emerges, especially in the sports and training segment.
As usual, there is not a lot of absolutely new stuff here in the patent applications. Apple is jumping on a technology bandwagon that's already rumbling along at speed. Just last week I saw an IoT boxing glove designed to gather punch information for training purposes along with other body monitoring ideas along the lines Apple appears to be closing in on with its patent filings. And there has already been lots of work done on wearable computers, cameras and the like over the past couple of decades.
So the 'problem' coming up is what we've been calling patent absurdity. An important part of Apple's business model is to reach for its patent lawyers at the first sign of meaningful competition.
Goes without saying, then, that if you're working on any sort of wearable computing/sensoring/communicating systems and devices, get down to the patent office with it now!