Apple’s iRing … is it real ?

The iRing is back … or at least sort of.  US2015/0277559 (a.k.a. ‘559) was published in the fall of 2015.  This application assigned to Apple disclosed technology that may be associated with a smart ring. 

There were all manner of inputs and outputs, including gestures, as may be used to control an external electronic device.  As we wrote at the time, the iRing may have been an idea on the cutting room floor.  But, did it facilitate a new interaction?  We thought it did.  That was the interesting bit.

Now, fast forward to Tuesday i.e. the day newly issued US Patents are published.  A number of Apple blogs race to publish their thoughts on a few of the 30-50 new patents assigned to Apple.  The coverage is fast, but it is not always sound.  US10,444,834 (a.k.a. ’834) received some attention this week.

The ‘834 patent looked eerily familiar.  A quick scan of the front page indicated it stemmed from the same application that was published in 2015 i.e. US2015/0277559.  One blog wrote  “Considering the similarity with that patent application, as well as the existing work Apple has put into the Apple Watch that is mirrored in the filing, it seems like a logical progression for Apple to develop a smart ring or similar hardware.”

The problem is that the ‘834 patent and the ’559 published application are the same.  The ‘559 application became the ‘834 patent.  Its presence does not add to the argument that a new product is in the works.

One needs to think about the technology bit and the “patent” bit.   Beyond the common mistake of thinking a patent directly points to a product, one has to get the technology and patent bits correct.  Else, one can go down the road of erroneous conclusions.