Choosing the best Apple Watch band to go with your new smartwatch is fun or an expensive headache, depending on how you feel about it — but Apple could be working on a special color-changing band to match both your mood and your attire .
This is evident from a newly granted patent discovered by Apple Insider (opens in new tab) – titled “Color Customizable Watch Band” – Apple could develop a band with special “electrochrome features” that can match your attire or “notify the user”.
The US patent (opens in new tab) describes a color-changing Apple Watch band that will function using “an applied voltage” to move between “a variety of colors and color combinations.” To achieve this, the watch strap appears to be made of a fabric woven from filaments. These filaments are said to contain those electrochromic features, meaning they can make reversible color changes. A similar technology is used in smart windows, which can change from light to dark to save energy costs.
The patent further explains how you could operate the chameleon-like watch strap. “The color selections can be made and adjusted without removing and changing the watch band,” says Apple.
Intriguingly, the patent also states that “the color-adjustable elements of the watch strap can be arranged and operated independently.” meaning they may be able to show icons, shapes or texts. This means that Apple may be looking for new ways to show notifications or updates about your activity progress.
Like all patents, this Apple Watch sample doesn’t mean it’s definitely something the tech giant is working on. But it’s an intriguing concept that could be a powerful way for future Apple Watch owners to upgrade from already powerful models like the Apple Watch 8.
Analysis: An innovative spark for smartwatches?
The best smartwatches have hit a plateau of sorts, with recent models like the Apple Watch 8 proving to be the smallest of incremental updates. It’s hard to pack more features into their rigid form factors – which is why Apple and Samsung are seemingly looking beyond the watch itself for new innovations.
We recently saw a Samsung Galaxy Watch patent that describes a smartwatch that includes a small projector that can “beam information from the outside of the case to the back of the user’s hand”. That’s similar to Apple’s concept, with both exploring ways to display information outside of a watch’s casing.
A color-changing watch strap can certainly appeal to those who don’t want to pay for different straps. But from a health and fitness point of view, it could be even more useful. Apple just announced some long-term heart health studies (opens in new tab) which are powered by the Apple Watch, built around the idea that its smartwatch “can help make the invisible visible”.
With heart health notifications – for high, low and irregular rhythms – an increasingly important part of the Apple Watch, it’s possible it could see color-changing accessories as another way for its wearable to alert both owners and those nearby when something is wrong is .
Alternatively, it may just be channeling the spirit of the ’90s “mood rings,” which used color-changing crystals to apparently represent the wearer’s mood and inner emotional state. For those of a certain age, any Apple wearable compatible with a color-changing “mood ring” band would automatically become the best Apple Watch ever.