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Apple A-Z » Accessories and I/O

Apple Ring

Apple Ring

A potential future wearable that Apple could release, the "Apple Ring" is a smart ring that could provide both biometric sensing for health tracking, as well as gesture recognition and even control of other Apple devices.

● Smart ring alternative to the Apple Watch
● Long-rumored with extensive patent history
● Health tracking is rumored
● Potentially capable of controlling other hardware

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An Apple Ring may be in development thanks to considerable success with the Apple Watch. Both ideally are wearables that provide users with health-tracking functionality as well as information they need, without necessarily reaching for their iPhone.

While having all of this data available on the wrist whenever you want useful, not everyone wants to keep a watch on their arm at all times. Some people may prefer to wear other timepieces on special occasions, or may not want to wear a watch at all. 

For the moment, there’s no other real alternative Apple can give to users, but there is one frequently-rumored possibility. Murmurs propose that an Apple-produced smart ring is on the way.

Since there is no official name for this rumored product as yet, this article will refer to it as the “Apple Ring,” following the company’s naming convention for the Apple Watch.

Apple Ring and smart rings

In the same way that a smart watch like the Apple Watch is basically a watch with a load of sensors and computing power crammed inside of it, an Apple Ring is the same thing, but in ring form.

A render of a ring with an Apple logo visible A render of a ring with an Apple logo visible

Just like the wrist-worn watch, the smart ring is something that tends to include a number of sensors to track a variety of data points about the user, such as heart rate, blood oxygen level, movement, and body temperature. These can be used to provide health-related statistics, which could be fed wirelessly to a nearby smartphone. 

However, a smart ring presents a number of challenges to Apple and other companies, such as working at a much smaller scale that limits the technologies they can squeeze into the package. A smaller device also means limited interaction options for the user.

An Apple Watch could display a notification on its screen and lightly buzz the user with haptic feedback. An Apple Ring likely wouldn't have a display, but haptics could at least clue the user in to a new notification on their iPhone.

Apple Ring vs the competition

Apple has two general rivals when it comes to smart rings, with one being a very close competitor in general. 

The incumbent smart ring on the market is the Oura Ring, a wearable that looks like a piece of jewelry but is lined with sensors. It’s capable of tracking heart rates, blood oxygen, movement, and temperatures, which are all fed into a companion app. 

The Oura Ring The Oura Ring

Oura has an advantage simply because it’s been on the market for so long, and has released multiple versions of the wearable, while Apple has yet to release its own interpretation. 

The other competitor is a familiar foe: Samsung. 

During the Samsung Unpacked 2024 event for the launch of the Galaxy S24 line, the South Korean giant hinted that it was working on the Galaxy Ring, a smart ring it believed it could release later in 2024.

Samsung's Galaxy Ring tease Samsung's Galaxy Ring tease

Outside of expectations of it having some form of fitness tracking and a ring shape, Samsung has kept quiet about what its ring will do beyond working with its smartwatch and tracking sleep.

Naturally, when Samsung mentioned its ring, that led the rumor mill to consider the possibility that Apple will bring its own version out.

A third notable version is Amazon's Echo Loop, a ring from 2019 that was released in limited quantities. Tethering to a smartphone, it offered haptic feedback and microphones, but it didn't offer enough promise for Amazon to continue the concept. 

Apple Ring could be coming soon

One month after Samsung’s January event, an unnamed “industry insider” made the claim that Apple has made considerable progress on its own smart ring. After “consistently” filing smart ring patents for years, “advanced development for commercialization appears to be imminent,” the leaker proposed.

In the same leak, it was offered that Apple could end up joining a potentially lucrative market, which will allegedly grow from $20 million in 2023 to $200 million by 2031. 

The source of the leak hasn't been the most reliable, ETNews, and even then it came from an unidentifiable anonymous source. The report also doesn’t provide any scheduling for a possible smart ring launch, putting its claims further in doubt. 

On February 25, Mark Gurman provided his own commentary on Apple’s wearables situation. Alongside Apple Glass claims and AirPods with built-in cameras, Gurman did mention smart rings. 

Apple’s version will apparently provide health-tracking functionality, Gurman writes, but he warns that the device is “just an idea.” Though Apple isn’t actively developing it, his sources say there are people within Apple Park promoting the concept. 

Apple Ring Patents

As mentioned earlier, Apple has filed many patents over the years that have applied to the idea of a smart ring, with the age and number of them showing it has been in Apple’s thoughts for a considerable time. 

Some of the earliest references to an Apple Ring include concepts raised in 2007, as well as an Apple supplier tour from 2013 that hinted a ring was on the way. Though neither are patent filings, they at least show there has been thought in the area.

Apple Ring as a Mini Apple Watch

In the case of one application for “Devices and methods for a ring computing device,” that patent dates back to October 2015, showing it’s been a potential product for over a decade, patent-wise.

The filing basically describes a miniature Apple Watch worn on a finger. While miniature in size, the device is still shown with a miniature touch-enabled display, as well as many elements that feature in the Apple Watch itself. 

Indeed, Apple was keen enough on the idea of a miniature Apple Watch on a finger that it made a continuation filing that was granted in 2019 on the same idea. 

An Apple smart ring concept from a patent application in 2015 [USPTO] An Apple smart ring concept from a patent application in 2015 [USPTO]

The list of capabilities proposed in the 2015 filing includes heart rate monitoring, and inductive charging, Force Touch, the Taptic Engine for haptic feedback, and an accelerometer and gyroscope for gesture input. These latter two also proposed the possibility of handwriting recognition by monitoring the finger’s movements. 

It also could’ve offered voice control, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and NFC. There was also the possibility of it being used to control over devices, such as an Apple TV or a nearby Mac


To get around touching a fiddly little screen, Apple has included many gesture-related patents for its Apple Ring. 

In a patent for "Skin-to-Skin Contact Detection" granted in April 2023, Apple covers multiple ways to detect contact or movement gestures between two body parts. For example, a thumb touching a finger, a thumb coming into contact with multiple fingers on the same hand, or touching other body parts. 

With a gesture performed, electrodes could sense the motion or action and then perform the relevant action. 

Smart ring gestures could allow for the ultimate game of Rock, Paper, Scissors... [USPTO] Smart ring gestures could allow for the ultimate game of Rock, Paper, Scissors... [USPTO]

Apple also offered that the gestures could be used to control other devices.

In one 2020 patent application, Apple suggested that a smart ring could use ultra-wideband to detect a device that the user wants to interact with. In effect, a user could point their ring-wearing hand at a device, and with the U1 chip or something similar at work, the ring could tell the device that it is about to be interacted with by the user. 

At that point, a user's interactions with the ring, such as specific movements or gestures, could be used to control the intended hardware. 

Slightly adjacent to rings, Apple also considered in a patent that surfaced in 2022 how a fingertip-worn device could offer gesture controls. A wag of the finger could be used to interact with a nearby display, albeit not in a form that could easily be worn all the time by users. 

Rolling and Haptics

As well as gestures, Apple considered how a ring could be controlled by the user, and how the Apple Ring could communicate back. 

Granted in August 2023, the "Ring input device with pressure-sensitive input" patent describes a device that could not only provide controls to the user, but also notify them of events. 

A rotatable outer ring could offer an extra dimension of control [USPTO] A rotatable outer ring could offer an extra dimension of control [USPTO]

On receiving a wireless input from a companion device, like a smartphone, the ring could notify the user that there's something happening with a haptic buzz. 

For control and input, Apple's patent proposes using a rotating outer band surrounding a stationary inner band, with the latter staying in contact with the user's finger. By rolling the external ring around the finger, like a supersized Digital Crown, this could switch between options, or granular options on a sliding scale like volume adjustment. 

Helping the Apple Vision Pro

Multiple patents have proposed the use of the Apple Ring to control other hardware, which could be useful for new items like the Apple Vision Pro. The headset doesn't include controllers, but it's feasible for a ring-like device to help further its hand recognition capabilities. 

This may not be that far from becoming a reality, with a November 2020 patent for a "wearable electronic device configured to be worn on a finger of the user" mentioning a "head-mounted device comprising a display viewable by the user" that could be controlled by a smart ring. 

An expandable smart ring with a sheathe [USPTO] An expandable smart ring with a sheathe [USPTO]

That filing mentions an unusual ring with a sheathed element extending out towards the fingertip. The sheath could theoretically allow for granular measurement of a finger bend. 

That ring would also have a sensor and visual marker, which would aid a headset in detecting its positioning and movements. 

It's not just for fingers...

While the patents so far have covered rings specifically, some of Apple's patents go beyond what a ring alone could do. Sometimes they're multi-part items, and may not have to be used on a finger. 

A patent granted in March 2020 for an "Expandable Ring Device" proposes a two-part ring that separates and extends along the finger, with an intermediary sheathe. Expanding across two knuckles, the arrangement could again include sensors to detect motion and finger bends. 

Once again, haptic feedback could be present, though spread across two areas of the finger instead of just one. Mentions of a rotatable housing, spinning buttons, and other elements also indicate there could be a lot more control options for a nearby thumb. 

Ring-shaped and ring-sized examples from a November 2023 patent [USPTO] Ring-shaped and ring-sized examples from a November 2023 patent [USPTO]

The previous pressure sensitivity patent does give finger rings as an example, but adds the rings could be worn "as part of a necklace, hoop earrings, electronic bracelet bands that are worn around the wrist, electronic toe rings, and the like." 

Another from November 2023 shows Apple cares more that it has a ring shape to be worn somewhere on a part of the user. Apple says this includes "around a user's wrist, arm, leg, ankle, neck, head, and/or other body part." 

The patent's thinking is that it could be worn all day, with the task of interacting with other hardware, like a highly intelligent AirTag. For example, it could be a talisman for entry through security checkpoints, and could interact with external displays to show information without having a display of its own.

Apple Ring release date and price

There hasn't been any concrete rumors surrounding a potential Apple Ring release date or price. It will likely be an expensive entry in the market, as Apple devices tend to be.

Apple Watch starts at $329, so it is possible the Apple Ring could act as a cheaper alternative at $199 or so. The release date, if any, could be a year or more away judging by a lack of rumors.