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Another big 1st for Apple – a smart ring

With the Vision Pro coverage exhausted Apple is keen to tap into another lucrative marketplace…

OURA smart ring showing sensors - something Apple would love to develop

Apple could barely have drawn breath after the release of the Vision Pro before it set its sights on the next category that it wanted to dominate and conquer – the smart ring – and it makes sense too.

Unlike the Vision Pro which which was always destined to be a niche high-priced device, a ring would appeal to a huge market and be pretty inexpensive – and it’s a market that has already been tested so Apple knows that there is an appetite for it.

Apple’s wearables division has become an increasingly important and profitable arm of its business. In number terms, it has grown from generating only 5% of the company’s revenue a decade ago to 10% last year. In 2022 Apple sold a whopping 49 million watches and 26.7 million units in only the first 9 months of last year.

AirPods too are part of the wearable division and are another massive money-maker for them. As of 2021, 150 million units of AirPods had been sold which added another $12.1 billion to its bottom line on the balance sheet.

In short – Apple likes wearables…so enter the ring.

Apple on a mission

An Apple smart ring makes sense in every way.

At Samsung Unpacked in January they announced the Galaxy Ring and then of course there is OURA. Having launched in 2015 they are the current market leaders having sold over 1 million rings to date – and Apple is ready to take a large chunk of that pie.

Last week, Korea’s Electronic Times ran a report saying that Apple is accelerating the development of a smart ring citing the number of patents that Apple engineers are currently filing for finger-worn devices as being a good indicator of what’s going on behind closed doors at Cupertino.

Over the past few years, I think we have been thrown off the scent. We had kind of assumed that these finger-worn patents must be to do with the Apple Vision Pro and possibly being some kind of controller – but now we know that not to be the case all this development can surely only mean one thing – a smart ring.

Styling it out

As much as OURA is the current leader in the smart ring marketplace there are areas where Apple could doubtless make improvements.

Style and design are where Apple normally wins out – and you can see possible areas where they could add some Californian sparkle to a smart ring. I dare say it would have that premium, quality feel to it. It could be thinner and with better battery life.

In essence, they could learn from OURA’s and Samsung’s mistakes and come in guns blazing. Also, they would not have to follow OURA’s subscription model – who’d of thought Apple would ever be the more affordable option?

For many the smart ring is an option they’d prefer over a smartwatch to monitor their health and sleep. Some people still love the idea of wearing an analogue watch as a piece of jewellery rather than taking the smartwatch route.

And I know many prefer to charge their Apple Watch at night rather than wearing it which means of course they aren’t capturing all that meaningful sleep data – a ring is much less obtrusive and more comfortable to wear through the night.

An area of weakness for smart rings has historically been that the sensors move and rotate through the day – either through normal daily activities or just the habit we have of fiddling with rings. Apple would be keen I’m sure to solve that inherent weakness in smart ring design – and if anyone can do it, Apple can…

A readymade ecosystem

Every time I write a story I do my best to avoid the ‘e’ word – but sometimes, like today, it is unavoidable.

Because of their ready-made ecosystem, Apple is perfectly placed to add a smart ring to their range. There are endless possibilities where Apple could take a smart ring – Apple Pay, keyless car and home entry and even the ability to unlock your Mac.

And that’s before you tap into all the obvious Apple Health & Fitness apps. The ring I’m certain would be sensor-dense and able to cover as many health and well-being metrics as possible including heart rate, blood oxygen and maybe even blood pressure.

Final thoughts

Apple is the best marketing company out there and has that uncanny knack of making us want something before we know we want it! An Apple ring would probably cost less than an Apple Watch meaning that it could sell in high volumes from day one and just like the watch could become the next must-have wearable.

Even though reports suggest that Apple is moving at a fast pace in its ring development I don’t think we are likely to see it this year – but it is coming, that much I think is a given.

One way or another, wearables are the future of personal computing and Apple knows it. The Vision Pro has thrown down the gauntlet. While we wait for the next iteration of that device and the ultimate goal of Apple Glasses, the more I look at it the ring makes sense.

Would a smart ring designed and styled by Apple interest you? I took a long time coming to Apple Watch but now love it. Maybe the next step for monitoring my health stats would be a ring – I’m certainly up for the thought of it and let’s face it – I’m pretty well rooted in the Apple ecosystem.

It’s coming – I’m sure of it…

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