The Apple Watch Milanese Loop band has already been popular for its magnet closure. However, there was a minor complaint about the band. Its held in place with a single magnet at the end of the band. As a result of this, the band tends to lose over the course of the day forcing a reset.
Apple has been working on a solution for this and it seems like they have succeeded. On November 27th, the US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a new magnetic strip system that provide a stronger hold on a user’s wrist.
The patent application covers an electronic device, such as a wristwatch or fitness or health tracking device which can be attached to a user’s wrist by a wristband. While the conventional elastic bands tend to get loose over time, other materials forming the flexible bands can tear or deteriorate over time due to forces applied at the hole of the flexible band by a tongue of a buckle.
Metal bands including a metal clasp can malfunction over time too. When a conventional wearable band is incapable of securely attaching the electronic device to a user’s wrist, the band needs to be replaced and/or the wearable electronic device can be susceptible to damage.
We all know that a secure attachment to the wrist is very important for the function of electronic magnets, such as biometric sensors. The wrist bands may catch, pinch, or pull a user’s hair or skin during use if the band is overly tight. It becomes bothersome to the users if the band is too tight or too loose. The problem increases during heavy activity, such as while running or playing sports.
Even if the users try to adjust the size or fit of conventional wristbands, it requires multiple steps, specialized tools and technical expertise. The fit may also vary from user to user given certain environmental or biological conditions.
A wristband can include flexible magnets, wherein each of the flexible magnets comprises a mixture of a polymer and a ferromagnetic material and a flexible cover surrounding the flexible magnets.
The patent submitted by Apple illustrates an assembly for a wristband can include multiple layers that support multiple magnets. Apple notes that the support structure can join the magnets together and maintain the magnets in a desired arrangement along a length of the wristband.
The support structure can also provide high bendability, allowing the wristband to fold onto itself. Furthermore, it can also form a ribbon that is wide in one-dimension transverse to its length, but thin in another dimension that is transverse to its length.
The structure can be formed of multiple woven fibers (e.g. fabric, polymers, synthetic fibers, polyester, liquid crystal polymer, fiber glass, carbon fiber etc.) and have a length sufficient to extend between multiple pairs of magnets.
This will allow the wrist band to stretch and provide greater comfort, security, and retention. With such stretch capability, the wristband can adapt, for example by changing its circumference as the user moves, exercises, stretches, etc. This kind of stretch capability can be provided by material selection, modified orientation of fibers in a woven material and structural features.
If Apple is able to pull this off, it will start a revolution in the world of wrist bands. Hope we will see this new technology in the market very soon.