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An Apple smart ring could be coming soon

A concept design of an Apple smart ring, showing a screen with exercise information on it,
Jonas Daehnert / Inside-sim

It’s no secret that Apple has been eyeing smart ring technology for a while. Now, it seems the market is ripe, and Apple is ready to go beyond the patent stage. According to a report from the Electronic Times, Apple’s development process is closer to giving us a market-ready product.

“It seems likely that commercialization is imminent,” says the report, citing an insider with knowledge of the supply chain. Unfortunately, the report doesn’t say exactly when we can expect an “Apple Ring” to hit the retail shelves, but it shouldn’t be too long, given the current status of the market.

Apple smart ring with rotating parts.
USPTO / Apple

Samsung has officially confirmed plans to launch its own smart ring later this year. Plus, the market is no longer exclusive to just one big name like the Oura Ring. We now have new entrants like RingConn, Ultrahuman, and Amovan — among others. But players in the market are not merely making rings that do fitness tracking.

There are also brands like Quontic and McLear that are hawking smart rings that facilitate contactless payments. Those are both areas where Apple has vested interests, especially if one looks at products with blockbuster success like Apple Fitness+ and the entire Apple Pay ecosystem.

It seems Apple has been preparing for it. All the way back in 2015, Bloomberg reported about an Apple patent for a ring with a touchscreen interface. In the following years, a few more patents emerged detailing a ring that could also be used to control other connected devices such as a Mac, Apple TV, iPad, and even VR gear.

Apple smart ring patent from 2015.
Apple

Recently, Patently Apple uncovered another smart ring patent filed in the U.S. that offered NFC and could also be technically deployed as a controller for the Vision Pro mixed reality headset. It’s worth noting here that Apple hasn’t made a physical controller for the headset, so launching a ring as a companion device would make sense. We’ve seen some concepts of what an Apple Ring could look like based on Apple’s patent history, and it looks mighty impressive.

Going by Apple’s history, it is not usually the first to a new product category. It likes to wait for the category to mature and the tech to evolve before the company makes an entry. The Apple Watch is a great example of that strategy, and it seems Apple wants to replicate it with its smartwatch endeavors.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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Ultrahuman, the maker of the Ultrahuman Ring Air, is making its way to U.S. production grounds. The company is setting up a production facility in Indiana, which will mark the first time a smart ring from Ultrahuman will be assembled from scratch on U.S. soil.

“The UltraFactory will offer an end-to-end production capability and is based on the company’s first operational model of such a facility in India,” the company says.

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Is the Oura Ring waterproof?
The Oura Ring Horizon resting on a green succulent plant.

The Oura Ring is a highly sought-after wearable device available in different styles and price ranges. It allows users to track their sleep and recovery, stress levels, illnesses, and fitness routines -- and it even provides features specific to women's health. With so many features,  you might wonder whether the watch is waterproof. Let's find out.
Is the Oura Ring waterproof?
Technically, the Oura Ring is not waterproof. Instead, it's water-resistant up to 330 feet (100 meters). This is the case for most modern gadgets. You'll often find water resistance protection on products, which is good, but it's not exactly the same as being waterproof. But what does that really mean? We explain below.
Can you go swimming with the Oura Ring?
The Oura Ring has a certain level of protection that allows you to wear it while swimming, showering, and snorkeling. However, wearing the Oura Ring during scuba diving or when there is a risk of extended water submersion or extreme pressure is not advisable. Oura recommends avoiding wearing the ring in such scenarios to ensure its longevity and proper functioning.

Oura further explains: "The Oura Ring operating temperature ranges from [-10 to 52 degrees Celsius and 14 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit]. You can safely wear your ring in the shower, hot tubs, saunas, ice baths, and cryotherapy tanks. However, extended exposure to extreme temperatures (below 0°C/32°F or above 35°C/95°F) may lead to battery damage."
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Of Oura's chief competitors, only the Ultrahuman Ring Air provides similar water resistance. By contrast, the Amovan Smart Ring only provides water resistance up to 50 meters. The Oura Ring offers the same level of protection as the Apple Watch Ultra, making it an excellent alternative to smartwatches. However, it surpasses the Apple Watch Series 2 or later and the Google Pixel Watch 2, which can only resist water up to 50 meters.

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Oura Ring Horizon sitting upright on a wood railing.

The Oura Ring is a sleek and stylish wearable device that has gained popularity based on its advanced sleep-monitoring features. It provides users with detailed insights into their sleep patterns, including the duration of each sleep stage, heart rate variability, and respiratory rate. It also tracks other key health metrics, such as body temperature and activity levels.

However, the question remains: Can the Oura Ring track fitness metrics such as step counting? It's time to find out.
Does the Oura Ring track steps?
The simple answer is this: Yes, it does! The Oura Ring tracks steps. Similar to smartwatches like the Google Pixel Watch 2 and Apple Watch Series 9, the Oura Ring can track your steps just like any other fitness tracker. This feature allows you to gauge the distance you've traveled and the calories you've burned daily.
How to track steps with the Oura Ring
It's important to note that activity tracking is not the primary focus of the Oura Ring. Therefore, it doesn't measure steps in the traditional sense. Instead, it relies on its built-in 3D accelerometer to track your body movement throughout the day and estimate your step count.

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