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  • Apple Researches Low Power Bluetooth Hotspots for Devices such as the iWatch


    Apple has filed for a United States patent detailing a system for allowing a device to access and share a remote network with a second device using the low-power Bluetooth LE protocol according to the folks over at AppleInsider. The patent application was recently published and credits Apple engineers Daniel Borges, Jason Giles, and Michael Larson as inventors. Notably, the application mentions a first device acting as a hotspot and having short-range connectability with a second device, with the second device having access to remote networks. The concept is very similar to the rumored interaction between Apple’s upcoming iWatch and a second iOS device such as the iPhone with the iWatch serving as an accessory and giving users easy at-a-glance access to common functions without having to take out larger devices.

    The described technology would seem particularly apt for providing intermittent Internet access for the iWatch, allowing it to take advantage of low-power Bluetooth to only intermittently connect to the Internet using an iPhone as a hotspot rather than having to host its own cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity. The following was mentioned regarding this aspect:

    The proximity profile defines a proximity notification alert that the supporting device sends to the device to advertise its shared access service to the network for devices within range. In one embodiment, upon receiving the proximity notification alert the device joins the supporting device’s shared access service and briefly connects to the network to receive push notifications or other messages, before disconnecting.
    The patent also details how a low-power connection protocol such as Bluetooth could prove to be advantageous as the first device remains in a low-power background mode while connecting to a network with the ability to receive push notifications. The following was mentioned regarding this aspect:

    In one embodiment, the short-range connectability to the supporting device is provided over a low-power enabled connection protocol such as Bluetooth. In a typical embodiment, the device is able to maintain itself in a low-power background mode while joining the supporting device's shared access service and briefly connecting to the network. In this manner the device may perform such activities as establishing intermittent network presence for receiving push notifications and other messages or updates, or for engaging in other network-related activities while advantageously remaining in low power mode.
    Apple has been rumored to be working on the iWatch, which is expected to provide common functions along with additional biometric integration in addition to serving as an accessory to iOS devices. Cook stated during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call last month that Apple still plans to introduce new product categories in 2014, which is a likely time frame for the release of the iWatch as previously indicated by multiple sources. A recent report also indicated that Apple was close to striking a deal with LG Display to provide OLED displays for the device.

    We’ll have to wait and see how things end up.

    Source: USPTO via AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Researches Low Power Bluetooth Hotspots for Devices such as the iWatch started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. hemptation's Avatar
      hemptation -
      This is awesome. Cause one of the largest problems now with smart watches is the battery drain Hopefully once they release this other manufacturers will be able to take advantage of this
    1. sknet's Avatar
      sknet -
      less then a week is crap....
    1. Kotin6006's Avatar
      Kotin6006 -
      Quote Originally Posted by sknet View Post
      less then a week is crap....
      I can see them pulling off a week long battery. The last 2 times they entered markets they blew away battery expectations. With the iPhone Blackberry CEO never thought it could last as long as Apple claimed. The iPad had a 10 hours battery. That was absurd to think then.
    1. Dphillipds's Avatar
      Dphillipds -
      Hmm I wonder if they consider the Bluetooth connection from the watch as well as maybe a headset. What type of drain that might cause users on the phone as well as those devices used simultaneously....
    1. CZroe's Avatar
      CZroe -
      Quote Originally Posted by hemptation View Post
      This is awesome. Cause one of the largest problems now with smart watches is the battery drain Hopefully once they release this other manufacturers will be able to take advantage of this
      It's just techno-babble. Bluetooth is not what causes them to have poor battery life and they aren't even talking about Internet tethering (more like push notifications). I routinely went a month between chargers with my Sony Ericsson MBW-150 Bluetooth watch and it got every notification and didn't even use the LE (Low Energy) version of Bluetooth.

      The reason those other devices have so much trouble is because they're doing it all wrong, It shouldn't be a cut-down version of a full-function device with compromises to computation, storage, and battery; it should be a watch or companion device first and foremost. Even things like the Sony LiveView are designed this way (imagine the wearable iPod Nano with Bluetooth). Even if you want a full-fledged Android or iOS device on your wrist, it makes more sense to do it by using it as a remote display to tap into the storage and computational power of your phone you already have in you pocket rather than duplicating functionality and shoehorning a less-capable version into the watch.