Apple"s application with the USPTO for a wrist-worn pedometer was released on Thursday. United States Patent Application #20140074431, "Wrist Pedometer Step Detection", reveals methods of obtaining an accurate step count for a wrist-mounted pedometer. Apparently, it is harder to obtain an accurate step count from a pedometer worn near the wrist as opposed to a pedometer worn near the chest. The patent also seems to be describing a device that might be closer to a smartwatch with all of its features and capabilities.
The patent reveals that a combination of algorithms, between-step timing and the accelerometer on the pedometer, can count how many steps might have been missed due to the G forces caused by arm swinging. The patent also explains how the user can switch the settings on the pedometer from on-wrist to near on-torso use. The device itself can automatically determine which of the two settings is appropriate based on readings from the accelerometer. And the pedometer can even determine if the user is running or walking.
This patent application also mentions that the pedometer could incorporate a number of features that you might find in a smartwatch, such as housing a processor for both data and images. The pedometer also would include memory, and light and proximity sensors. The patent also mentions features like GPS, temperature sensors, a "biometric sensor", a camera for both still photography and video capture, facial recognition, voice control and the ability to make or take calls. Besides a number of touchscreen input options, the filing says that the device will have "one or more buttons, rocker switches, thumb-wheel, infrared port, USB port, and/or a pointer device such as a stylus." The pedometer will support connectivity via GSM, GPRS, EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and WiMax.
The device in the patent application sounds suspiciously like the eagerly awaited Apple iWatch instead of a pedometer. The Cupertino based tech titan has been extremely quiet about its rumored smartwatch, but the timepiece is still expected to be released some time this year.