Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,298,473) for Apple Watch bands that offer extra functionality — including the potential ability to listen to FM radio.
About the patent
In the patent filing, the tech giant notes that accessories have been utilized to provide additional functionality to portable electronic devices such as smartwatches. One example is a FM receiver provided as a small electrical product that can be attached to a portable electronic device via a cable, which is useful when the portable electronic device doesn’t already include a FM receiver.
Apple says that, however, continuing needs to make portable electronic devices smaller and more portable. There is also a continuing need to enhance functionalities of portable electronic devices.
The patent involves many other functions that could be provided via a smart watchband. One possibility would seem to be FM radio functionality. Of course, it wouldn’t make sense to have an earbud cable running from an Apple Watch to a listener’s ear. The invention would have to work with AirPods, AirPods Pros, and similar devices.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent with some technical details: “Embodiments of electronic wristwatches are disclosed. According to one embodiment, an electronic wristband can provide additional electrical circuitry or devices that can be made available for use as or with an electronic device. In one embodiment, the electronic device can be a mobile electronic device that can be removably coupled to the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices.
“Advantageously, the electronic device can utilize the additional electrical circuitry or devices provided within the electronic wristband to augment the capabilities of the electronic device. In another embodiment, the electronic device can be integrally formed with the electronic wristband which provides the additional circuitry or devices.”