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After years of research, an Apple smart ring may be imminent

Samsung's tease of a smart ring may prompt a similar Apple release

The rumor mill has fired up again, with a new supply chain report claiming that the "Apple Ring" will arrive sooner, rather than later.

Samsung's tease of the Galaxy Ring during its Unpacked event in January will help expand the smart ring market considerably. However, a report claims Apple isn't too far away from introducing its own.

According to an industry insider speaking to ETNews on Tuesday, Apple is getting very close to launching the rumored wearable. After filing many patent applications, and spurned on by Samsung, it could soon be Apple's turn.

"Apple has consistently released smart ring-related patents for several years, so advanced development for commercialization appears to be imminent," the insider told the report. Apple is also apparently considering a launch date for the device, though it isn't proposed how close to launch the ring could actually be.

If true, Apple faces entering a potentially fast-growing market. Business Research Insight claims the global smart ring market could grow from $20 million in 2023 to almost $200 million by 2031, growing ten times the size within 8 years.

As part of the market's growth, it's thought that the ecosystem for components needed for such hardware, including biosensors for monitoring the wearer's health, will be revitalized. With an interest in healthcare, smart rings are a point of interest for Apple in aiding in wellness.

ETNews doesn't have a great track record when it comes to predicting future Apple products, but it does feature prominently in the Apple rumor mill. However, there are no other credible rumors or leaks about the supposed smart ring which you would expect about a soon-to-arrive Apple product, putting an "imminent" launch in doubt.

That said, it does have a point concerning the number of patents filed by Apple over the device.

Ring patent rush

In covering Apple's patents, the report mentions one from November which uses a smart ring and short-range wireless communication to let users control smartphones and other devices. As part of that patent, Apple suggested the use of an external band on the ring, which could be used to provide extra touch controls or rotation.

In 2023 alone, AppleInsider has covered smart ring patents that use the device to control others, complete with pressure-sensitive input, the possible control of an Apple Vision Pro headset, and even one that could spot when a user snaps their fingers.

There's even been a viral social media post bemoaning the privacy issues of a paired wedding ring that allows someone to track their partner.

Apple has filed many patents surrounding a smart ring over the years, including one from 2015 which poses the device as having a small touch-enabled display, accelerometers and a gyroscope for gesture input, and heart-rate monitoring, among other features.

The idea of an Apple smart ring goes even further back in time, including rumors from 2007 and an Apple supplier tour in 2013.

Tuesday's report may not necessarily be accurate about the timing of a smart ring. But, given Apple's extensive history researching what the wearable accessory could potentially do, Apple's certainly had a long time to think about it.