Patent report: Apple watchbands with haptic feedback, a wireless charging station

Future Apple Watches may be (surprise!) even thinner. Apple has filed for a patent (20160371942) for a “band attachment mechanism with haptic feedback” that would transfer the smartwatch's haptic feedback mechanism from the device’s body to its wrist strap.

It’s for a system that includes a band, an attachment mechanism attached to the band, and one or more haptic devices included in the attachment mechanism. The attachment mechanism can attach the band to an electronic device. Additionally or alternatively, the attachment mechanism can attach the band to a wearer. The haptic device or devices are in communication with a processing device. At least one of the one or more haptic devices produces a haptic response based on an activation signal received from the processing device.

Apple has also filed for a patent (20160372960) for a “wireless charging station.” The invention is for a wireless charging system that includes a transmitter and a receiver and which is designed for mobile phones, smartwatches “and the like.” So maybe the 2017 iPhone will sport wireless charging, after all.

Speaking of wireless, Apple has also filed for a patent (number 20160372961) for “wireless charging retail systems.” It’s for a wireless charging table comprising a table top having an upper surface upon which one or more electronic devices can be placed, a wireless charging transmitter positioned under the upper surface of the table top, the wireless charging transmitter comprising a plurality of transmitter coils that define a charging region at the upper surface of the table top, and a power distribution system operatively coupled to the wireless charging transmitter, the power distribution system configured to receive power from an alternating current (AC) power source and distribute power to the wireless charging transmitter.

Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.