The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has published a new Apple patent application for flexible antenna components that could be integrated into the band of the Apple Watch. The stretchable, bendable antennas would still support the Watch’s wireless capabilities, but would theoretically free up more space in the body of the watch without compromising the integrity of the antennas or the comfort of the wearer.
So what would Apple do with the extra space? The patent offered details about an image and video output system, as well as a potential Touch ID utility. Specifically, Apple indicated that it could add a number of different input mechanisms, including touch, force, and temperature sensors, in addition to fingerprint sensors. The latter would would allow Apple to extend the reach of Touch ID to its smartwatch platform.
Of course, this is not the first time that Apple has considered biometric features for the Apple Watch. An April patent included plans for a sub-epidermal imaging camera, while a heartrate monitor was one of the key features of the Apple Watch Series 4. The tech giant recently expanded its smartwatch portfolio with the release of the Apple Watch Series 5, which offers a range of biometric and non-biometric tracking features.
Touch ID, meanwhile, has been the subject of rampant speculation in the past few months. A separate Apple patent detailed an in-display fingerprint recognition system, and there have been many rumors that suggest that the company is planning to bring Touch ID back to the iPhone in some form. The latest versions of the MacBook Pro also offer support for Touch ID.
The new patent application was initially filed in the second quarter of 2018. As with most patents, it’s unclear if or when the technology will make its way into Apple’s consumer products.
Source: Patently Apple