Two newly filed patent applications by Apple show that the tech giant is looking into more ways to beef up the fitness and health features of the Apple Watch.
Patent number 20170357007 is for “radionavigation for swimmers.” Methods, systems and computer program products for radionavigation (shouldn’t that be two words) for swimmers are described. It’s designed for long-distance swimming in open waters.
The Apple Watch can be configured to estimate a location using radio frequency signals can estimate a position of the swimmer when the mobile device is worn on a limb of the swimmer and periodically submerged. The smartwatch can supply auxiliary information to a radionavigation subsystem to correct a navigation solution affected by limb motion of the swimmer and affected by the periodic submersion of the Apple Watch.
Patent number 20170358242 is for “managing presentation of fitness achievements” and is targeted mainly at runners. In the patent filing, Apple notes that major updates to software running on electronic devices such as “mobile phones, tablets, wearable devices, and the like” are typically downloaded and installed in response to a user selecting a prompt relating to the updates. For example, the user may receive a notification that a new software update is available for her electronic device.
The user may then select a time that is convenient for downloading and installing the update. Depending on the size of the update and the network speed. Apple says that “the combination of time required for updates and these conditions may present challenges to the user and may even result in the update not being selected in a timely manner.”
Because of this, software developers may attempt to minimize the number of major updates, the company adds. One way of doing this is to send certain minor updates to electronic devices "over-the-air." These minor updates may be downloaded in the background and installed without user interaction. However, for security reasons or otherwise, the type of updates that may be sent to the electronic devices in this manner may be limited. Apple’s method would overcome this limitation and help save battery life.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A fitness achievement definition may define a fitness achievement using trigger information and one or more achievement rules. The fitness achievement may be earnable by a user of a user device by meeting the requirements of the fitness achievement. The fitness achievement definition may be stored on a user device that includes an application that collects data including fitness data.
“Detection of a trigger event corresponding to the trigger information and evaluation of the achievement rules may be managed by the user device. In some examples, a fitness communication relating to the fitness achievement may be presented at the user device.”
Of course, 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.