Apple didn't unveil the first-generation Apple Watch refresh we all expected, and the first-generation refresh would've brought a new FaceTime camera; sadly, it never came to fruition. A new Apple Watch patent the company applied for last week just may explain why Apple held off on the Apple Watch refresh: the fruit company may release smart modular bands in the future.
The patent, titled "Modular Functional Band Links For Wearable Devices," pertains to Apple Watch bands that contain various tech modules, such as GPS receivers, heart rate monitors, and so on.
Take the old FaceTime camera, for example: an Apple Watch modular smart band would contain the camera module that would let you buy a band containing the camera. In the future, you might be able to exchange that FaceTime camera wristband for a new wristband containing an updated module while maintaining your current watch look and feel. The same goes for a sweat sensor, thermometer, GPS receiver, blood pressure sensor, and so on.
The idea behind smart modular bands is that, instead of releasing new watches with each new technology bump, consumers who want their watch to last can just swap old parts for new parts - and keep their watch both old and new simultaneously.
The patent application was submitted in February, so it seems as though Apple is gearing up for an Apple Watch surprise by year's end. We'll have to wait and see.
Until the time Apple makes an announcement, you can view the Apple Watch smart modular band patent drawings below that are provided by tech site Apple Insider.