The Apple Watch may be the world’s top wearable device right now, but that doesn’t mean that Apple’s happy to stop there. According to a newly published patent, Apple has developed its very own fabric, made up of a ridged material to offer a “contrasting appearance.”
The patent is an ornamental one, covering the look of the fabric rather than a specific use case. However, given Apple’s history of investigation into smart fabrics, it’s possible that the material could be used for developing future smart, sensor-equipped clothing.
Apple venturing into unusual design projects is hardly unusual. While we think of Apple design as being the way that Macs, iPads or iPhones look, Apple has frequently explored other concepts, too. Steve Jobs, for instance, was named as one of the inventors of the floating staircase, seen most often in Apple Stores.
Jony Ive, meanwhile, went into almost obsessive levels of detail about the paper used in Apple’s “Designed by Apple in California” coffee table book. Heck, the company even designed its very own pizza boxes — and we don’t expect that’s because it plans to take on Papa Johns any time soon.
Apple’s history of developing smart clothing (none of which has yet been released) has been described in multiple patents. For instance, one published last summer described tech which could provide blind and deaf people with tactile or auditory signals to navigate their environments. Another patent, meanwhile, mentions stretchable displays which could potentially be embedded into clothing.
While smart wearable clothing is likely to remain very much of a niche product for the next few years, it’s still an area many are interested in. Should another company suddenly prove the viability of this tech, it looks like Apple will be ready to swoop in and show off its own research.
Hey, at worst this could mean Apple Store employees getting a new, higher-spec t-shirt to wear in store, right?
Via: Patently Apple