Future Apple Watch bands may be able to automatically fit your wrist — and power down when removed

These images show a watch band with fit detection.

Future Apple Watch bands may automatically adjust themselves to fit your wrist. Apple has filed for a patent (number US 20230079679 A1) for a “watch band with fit detection.”

About the patent filing

The patent filing elates generally to watch bands, and, more particularly, to watch bands that can detect a user’s wrist. Apple notes in the patent filing that some electronic devices may be removably attached to a user. For example, a wristwatch or fitness/health tracking device can be attached to a user’s wrist by joining free ends of a watch band together.

Proximity sensors are capable of detecting the presence of a target without physical contact. Apple’s idea is for a smart watch wristband with a proximity sensor that detects whether the watch is “off wrist” and should be turned to a locked state. 

However, for those users who prefer to wear their watch loosely against their wrist, such a proximity sensor may cause unintentional locking of the watch or other undesired consequences. So Apple also wants a “smart” wrist band to be able to determine the configuration and/or location of a wearable device relative to the user.

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “Characteristics of a watch band can change when placed in different configurations, and each of these characteristics can be correlated with each of the various configurations. The characteristics can be measured to detect in which of the various configurations the watch band is in. 

“For example, the watch band can include an adjustable capacitor that changes it capacitance when the watch band changes its configuration. For example, the capacitance can change based on stretching of the watch band, bending of the watch band, and/or securement and release of an engagement element. The watch or another device can perform one or more operations based on the detected characteristic and configuration of the watch band.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.