Samsung’s next smartwatch is expected to make an official appearance in September at IFA 2016 in Berlin, and in all likeliness, the gadget will be known as the Samsung Gear S3. On the other hand, lately Samsung has been filing several patents and trademarks for wearable technology, and not long ago the “Samsung Gear S3 Frontier” moniker was reserved for Samsung in South Korea by the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS), indicating that the company might be working on more than one smartwatch, or that the Gear S3 will represent a bigger departure from the previous models. Whatever the case may be, even more recently – as in yesterday – a new Samsung patent application was discovered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database, detailing a format for attaching wrist straps to a smartwatch. But what makes this patent application very unusual is the fact that it contains drawings based off of the Apple Watch.
Indeed, as odd as it may sound, a Samsung patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in January 2016 and published on August 4 describes a technology for attaching wristbands to a smartwatch that looks very similar to the Apple Watch. In fact, some of the line drawings almost look as if they have been line-traced from actual Apple Watch renders depicting the device from multiple angles. On the other hand, the same application contains drawings of other smartwatches (some that don’t even exist, as seen in the gallery below), and at the end of the day, the patent is clearly describing a new method of swapping and attaching wristbands to smartwatches, rather than detailing a particular smartwatch model in development. The “Abstract” section of the patent application reads that “A wearable device is provided. The wearable device includes a first strap portion attached or detached from a body portion and provided to allow the body portion to be worn on a human body, a second strap portion provided in the body portion to be exchanged with the first strap portion, electrically connected to the body portion […]” and so on. Pretty abstract indeed, but what we can take from the description is that the patent doesn’t cover a smartwatch, hence the part where “a wearable device is provided”. It also sounds like this new method of attaching wristbands will require electrical current to pass through the wristband, presumably for fueling certain sensors within the strap.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s still very unclear why this patent exists, and more importantly, why it contains sketches depicting a product manufactured by one of Samsung’s biggest rivals. Samsung and Apple have quite a history when it comes to patent lawsuits, and the latter was accused of patent infringement by Apple numerous times before. With that in mind, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Samsung to be using Apple’s designs in its patent filings unless Samsung is developing third party wristbands for the Apple Watch, which sounds rather far-fetched given that the company could focus on creating accessories for its own wearable products instead. Simply put, we’ll have to wait and see how, and if the story will develop any further.