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Apple's Follow Up to its Watch: a Smart Ring?

The technology company filed a very detailed patent for one on Thursday.
Apple's 18-karat gold "Edition" smartwatch. Photo: Apple

Apple's 18-karat gold "Edition" smartwatch. Photo: Apple

Since launching this spring, the Apple Watch's level of success is still undergoing debate. Some say it was a flop, others say it's too early to call, and many insist that sales were strong. Aesthetically, it's a point of contention as well. But one thing's for sure: it's been a hot topic. And if you were starting to tire of discussing it — or feeling obligated to ask friends about it upon seeing it on their wrists — Apple has given us something else to talk about: the possibility of an Apple Ring.

The company applied for a patent Thursday with the the United States Patent & Trademark Office for a "Ring Computing Device," as the eagle-eyed Apple Insider first reported. The application includes a summary of what the device will do: 

A user controls an external electronic device with a finger-ring-mounted touchscreen that includes a computer processor, wireless transceiver, and rechargeable power source; the ring is worn on a first finger, receives an input from a second finger, selects one of a plurality of touch events associated with the input, and wirelessly transmits a command associated with the touch event to the external electronic device.

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What follows are nearly 40 pages explaining the device's functionalities and scenarios for how it could theoretically be used, including sketches of what it will look like. Clearly, Apple has spent quite some time conceptualizing this thing.

Photo: United States Patent & Trademark Office

Photo: United States Patent & Trademark Office

Essentially, it sounds like a smaller, ring-sized version of the Apple Watch, possessing similar capabilities, like a touch screen, voice and motion input, a camera and the ability to use it to control other electronic devices.

Of course, just because a patent application has been filed doesn't necessarily mean that Apple will bring such a device to market anytime soon (or ever). Still, it is fun to think about. I for one can't help but imagine a "Captain Planet"-type scenario in which you and your friends punch your rings together to combine powers — like so