Apple filed a patent on Thursday for a “Hotspot device” that would bring data connectivity to “portable electronic devices.”
For example, you could bring this thing with you instead of your iPhone, and in theory, still be able to use your Apple Watch’s internet-based activities.
From the patent diagrams, the Apple hotspot looks extremely compact and portable. They also show that it would be activated with a simple twist, much like the way some flashlights turn on and off.
By portable electronic devices, Apple could be referring to the Apple Watch, which relies on your iPhone’s data connection for some of its functionality, like receiving notifications, replying to texts with canned responses or emojis, making or receiving calls. When offline, right now the Watch can only tell you the time, track your fitness, and play music you stored in the Watch’s onboard memory.
For some owners, the Apple Watch’s offline functions may not suffice, and Apple’s patent for a hotspot sheds some light into how Apple is exploring different ways to solve the Watch’s lack of functionality when it’s not connected to your iPhone.
Of course, this thing might not appeal to everybody. It seems somewhat limited to people who prefer to leave their iPhones behind during certain activities, like running or cycling, because they’re too heavy or bulky.
Additionally, all hotspots add to your monthly phone bills as they need a separate data subscription from a cellular network provider, like AT&T or Verizon. Not everyone may be on board with the cost of that just to get notifications or texts during a workout.
Let’s all keep in mind that just because the company filed a patent for a hotspot doesn’t mean it will release one. Apple has filed several patents that haven’t come to fruition, just take this patent for the iPhone’s home button that turns into a joystick.