Introducing the Apple iRing

Introducing the Apple iRing

Apple recently applied for a patent in the United States for what could be called an iRing. This initially sounds like a goofy idea but hold that thought!

Image credit: US Patent and Trademark Office

Image credit: US Patent and Trademark Office

Apple has designed a ring will incorporate a motion-sensing accelerometer and gyroscope. This essentially means it will understand 360-degree movement, allowing hands free gesture control. A great feature for gamers it would seem.

The iRing is worn on the index finger with a provision for control by your thumb.

Apple has also separately announced what it calls the iPad Pro, a 12.9 inch tablet with an A4 screen making it perfect for reading documents without need to navigate back and forth on the page.

The iPad Pro has been built with the idea that you would perhaps use a companion keyboard or the first ever Apple Stylus. It is therefore a natural progression that you could use the iRing as a companion device.

A use case that I can clearly see is where an iRing can be used to help scrolling between pages, or perhaps even used to ‘cut and paste’ an article online.

These gestures could also be a great breakthrough for disabled users, making it easier to use such tablet devices without having to grip the actual hardware. Much like the Apple Watch, which allows you to receive alerts and messages, features that I believe aren’t that attractive.

But having an Apple iRing on my index finger does allow me to use the microphone and have ‘hands free’ conferences while driving for instance.

Perhaps controlling my Apple TV to select and change channels is also going to be really handy (pardon the pun) feature.

But the most attractive use case will be in payments and the iRing’s use with Apple Pay, the mobile payments and digital wallet service.

For a glimpse at the future, take a look at London-based startup, Kerv.

This startup has created a ring that uses near field communication (NFC) technology that is often built into smartphone.

When a user travels on the London tube or buys a morning coffee, they simply wave the Kerv ring at an existing contactless terminal.

The iRing – if it is released – will be used for many things, but for me the key reason I would wear this is that I don’t have to get out my phone or wallet to make a payment.

Theoretically, with the use of a biometric thumb print, then you can also control the valid usage of this wearable device.

I’m sure there are digital teams at the 'big four banks' that are potentially adding this to their future mobile roadmap. While I’ve never been keen on an Apple iWatch, an Apple iRing makes sense and I want one.

David Gee is the former CIO of CUA where he recently completed a core banking transformation. He has more than 18 years' experience as a CIO, and was also previously director at KPMG Consulting. Connect with David on LinkedIn.

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Tags NFCApple iRingAppleTabletApple TVNear Field CommunicationApple watch

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