KEY POINTS

  • Apple is looking at creating a special fabric
  • This fabric incorporates electric components
  • This can be used for a variety of purposes, include future Apple Watch bands and HomePods

Apple is now looking into creating fabrics with incorporated electric components.

The company's latest innovation in smart fabrics was revealed in a patent application aptly titled “Fabric with Electric Components,” which was recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Some might be familiar with the idea of smart clothing, introduced a few years back by Google and famed denim company Levi's via the Trucker Jacket. This piece of everyday outerwear incorporated the Mountain View firm's Jacquard technology, allowing wearers to stay stylish and connected at the same time.

The technology described in Apple's patent application, however, seems more advanced than the one used on the Trucker Jacket. This is because of a few reasons:

First, Apple's invention involves inserting electrical components into the fabric while it is being made. Conductive materials can be inserted and placed beside threads used in the fabric creation process. This will result in a fabric to which electronic components can be attached for various purposes.

The Levi's Trucker Jacket, on the other hand, is basically a good-looking jacket with a specially-designed pocket where the Jacquard tag can be placed. The jacket becomes a regular, albeit pricey, denim jacket without the tag.

Apple Fabric An image of a weft knit fabric having conductive strands, according to Apple's patent application. Photo: Apple/USPTO

Second, the Apple fabric can be used for other things, such as Apple Watch bands, HomePods, iPad Pro Smart keyboard folio and other devices and accessories that the Cupertino tech giant could create in the future. And since it's a fabric, it will just be a part of the whole device.

All that said, the patent application didn't really talk about devices that it could be used for. It could be used for a wider range of applications, including smart furniture, smart clothing and more, though Apple might start with more advanced Apple Watch bands.

Aside from smart fabrics, Apple is also working to improve the iPhone's Face ID technology based on two of its newly granted patents.

In one patent titled “Robust Face Detection,” Apple described a method that lets the Face ID camera detect users' faces regardless of orientation and whether or not their faces are accurately lined up with the camera.

The other patent describes a system that allows Face ID to detect differences in a user's face during setup. This system was meant to prevent the unauthorized enrollment of faces other than the user's.

Apple Watch The Apple Watch Series 5 is rumored to have sleep tracking functions. Pictured: General view of the Apple Watch during the Apple Covent Garden re-opening and iPhone XR launch at Apple store, Covent Garden on October 26, 2018 in London, England. Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images