Google Glass has gone back to the design studio, fitness bands are a dying phase and smartwatches are yet to hit peak popularity - but that isn't putting Apple off the wearables.
A new patent from the Californian tech company reveals that they're poking about with an idea for a smartring/Apple Ring/iRing.
Armed (or fingered? No, definitely armed) with this device, a user would be able to "control an external electronic device with a finger-ring-mounted touchscreen that includes a computer processor, wireless transceiver, and rechargeable power source".
Rather than acting as a second screen device or notification centre like the Apple Watch, the ring would be a control unit - with voice and touch in put - replacing conventional control systems like a mouse by dragging your thumb across its touchscreen.
Other actions could be controlled with hand flicks or gestures, creating a new 'language' of controls (in the same way we understand mouse controls like double click, right click, click and drag). Think of it like a laptop touchpad in miniature, attached to the large knuckle of your index finger.
So what devices would need an iRing? The hint is in the patent's accompanying background explanation, which notes that their hands might be "preoccupied with other tasks" or even become "fatigued" with holding the device for too long. With the iPad Pro weighing in at a cumbersome 713 grams (it might not sound much, but trying holding that weight for more than 20 minutes while working/giving a presentation), large screen devices that require touch could well rely on control devices like this ring idea in future.
Would you prefer to swap your mouse for a finger-mounted control? Let us know.