Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a patent for a “shoe wear-out sensor, body-bar sensing system, unitless activity assessment and associated methods” that could be used with the rumored iWatch.
The patent describes multiple embodiments of this new sensor. One is a sensor that will tell you when your shoes have worn too thin. Another is a “body-bar sensing system” that attaches to a “body bar” or barbell, counts bar movements, and indicates the number of repetitions on a display screen. The bar device incorporates Hall Sensors, accelerometers, and processors, while display duties are offloaded wirelessly to a secondary device. According to the patent, that second unit could be an MP3 player, phone, or watch — an indication the rumored iWatch may well be on its way to consumers in the near future.
What the patent definitely marks is Apple’s clear bid for the Healthcare market. The company’s iOS 8, currently in pre-release, is said to feature a new “Health” app that allows users to enter medical data and record information about their workout sessions. The app is part of a collaborative project with Nike and the Mayo Clinic to create a Healthkit framework for Apple devices.
The watch, yet unnamed, is rumored to feature a flexible OLED screen allowing for a more form fitting watch. Apple Insider speculates the product will be released later this year.