Apple Smart Ring: Release Date, Features, Prices & Rumors

Apple and Samsung have a new arena to fight in — and it’s shaped like a ring.

Samsung’s impending Galaxy Ring release sets the stage for a new wearable to enter the mainstream, and before iPhone users frantically asked Google, ‘Does Apple have a smart ring?’ the good news is that rumors hint at an imminent reveal.

As tech fans prepare for Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, early rumors suggest a potential announcement of an Apple Smart Ring, along with other launches that Apple is keeping up its sleeve.

The new smart ring battlefield is expected to diminish current leader Oura’s stronghold, which currently holds more than 50% of the market. This development is particularly significant given the global smart ring market’s forecasted surge, with expectations to grow over 29% by 2028 and reach a valuation of $1.1 billion.

Apple has traditionally adopted strategic patience, meticulously observing a technology’s success and market acceptance before making its carefully calculated entry. This ethos can be found in Tim Cook’s motto of “be best, not first.”

But are Apple fans ready to accept that the Apple Watch is so 2015 and embrace the Apple Smart Ring in 2024?

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Key Takeaways

  • Speculation increases about Apple’s strategic entry into wearable tech with the Apple Smart Ring.
  • Apple smart ring rumors suggest the latest wearable could offer health tracking, mobile payments, and device control.
  • Apple’s Smart Ring aims to extend the wearable portfolio, offering discreet health tracking without overshadowing the Apple Watch.
  • Apple and Samsung’s potential debut in smart rings is expected to challenge Oura’s dominance.
  • The earliest we should expect the Apple Smart Ring is September 2024, however Apple is remaining notoriously secretive.
  • Will Apple aim for mass adoption in the $300 price range, or aim high into the luxury market?
  • The rise of Smart Rings raises concerns about data privacy around health data tracking.

Apple Smart Ring Release Date

Expected Date (Earliest): September 2024

Before we get too excited, the Apple Smart Ring is a collection of patents and intense speculation right now. Whether Apple will tease the new wearable device at WDDC in June to get ahead of Samsung’s upcoming announcement is still debatable. However, we suspect that Apple will want to enter the market sooner rather than later.

The sensible money would be on a slow drip feed of Apple Smart Ring news building up to an unveiling alongside the iPhone 16 in September. However, we must stress that there has yet to be any official announcement that the Apple Smart Ring is currently in the concept or active development phase.

It’s no accident that Apple Smart Ring rumors begin in the build-up to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Especially considering that Samsung is also gearing up to introduce the Galaxy Ring at its Galaxy Unpacked event in July.

We will update this article as soon as further details are released.

Apple Smart Ring Specs and Features

Payments, Controlling Other Apple Devices, Smart Gestures

Apple Insider recently revealed details behind a newly granted patent titled “Skin-To-Skin Contact Detection” that hints at Apple’s exploration of gesture and contact detection technologies.

The patent suggests that the Apple Smart Ring specs could help it recognize interactions between different body parts or even between fingers while wearing such a device. This innovation suggests a broader application, extending beyond mere wristwear to a more nuanced understanding of user gestures and movements, signaling Apple’s ambition to redefine wearable technology.

Apple’s rumored smart ring would integrate seamlessly into the ecosystem, offering a suite of features without additional apps and subscriptions. Prospective functionalities include sleep and fitness tracking, mobile payments via Apple Pay, and unique caller identification phone feedback.

The Apple Smart Ring could also be used as an intuitive interface for other Apple devices, controlling them with simple gestures or voice commands. For example, its integration with the Vision Pro headset as a remote or even enhancing VR gaming experiences would showcase Apple’s vision of a unified, interactive tech ecosystem.

Everything Else We Know So Far About Apple Smart Ring

‘Always On’ Health Monitoring

Introducing an Apple Smart Ring could complement rather than cannibalize the Apple Watch market, as these two devices cater to distinct preferences and use cases. The Apple Watch’s tracking features like heart rate monitoring, ECG, and oxygen saturation have been popular with health enthusiasts and the worried well. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Some users find the daily ritual of wearing a watch and nightly charging cumbersome. By contrast, a smart ring is a subtler, more discreet alternative for those interested in crucial health data without the bulkiness of a watch. It offers a streamlined experience, focusing on essential health metrics, and appeals to users who prioritize simplicity and convenience or those who find wearing a watch uncomfortable or impractical, especially during sleep.

Long-Term Health Tracking

The Apple Smart Ring could also attract those looking for a less intrusive wearable that blends seamlessly into their lifestyle. Unlike the Apple Watch, which demands frequent charging, a smart ring promises extended battery life due to its lack of a display and simpler functionality.

Syncing health data without requiring constant device interaction also appeals to users seeking a more passive approach to health tracking.

Ultimately, the debate between the Apple Watch and a potential Smart Ring centers on the user’s lifestyle and convenience preferences. The Watch offers comprehensive health tracking with immediate data sync. At the same time, a Smart Ring promises a less intrusive, longer-lasting option for continuous health monitoring without daily charging.

Buying a Smart Ring could offer flexibility and a more comfortable, discreet alternative to 24/7 health tracking, hopefully at a more affordable price. By appealing to users seeking simplicity and minimalism from their wearable tech, there’s room for rings and watches in the tech wearable market.

Gestures That Fit Into Your Life

If the Smart Ring is able to understand the differences between an elbow, an arm, crossing your chest, or tapping your knee, we could find the ring serving as a brand new user interface to interact with your devices.

From pausing TV by tapping your chest or changing a music track by tapping an elbow, Apple could offer a version of extended reality that blends real-life gestures into the digital playground, unobtrusively and instinctively.

Apple Smart Ring Price

Suggested RRP: Starting at $300

Once again, it is challenging to predict the price of a new product that does not exist. The sweet spot for most Apple consumers would be around $300. However, Apple has a reputation for a premium pricing strategy, which could make the entry point anywhere between $300 and $500.

For some perspective, Oura launched its ring in 2015, and the cheapest model is still $300.

Why Apple’s Next Smart Move Should Be the Smart Ring

In March 2022, Oura revealed sales surpassing one million rings; however, its most recent version has faced scrutiny following the introduction of a $5.99 monthly subscription fee, which restricted access to users’ health data behind a financial barrier. This represents a perfect opportunity for Samsung and Apple to make a move.

The competition: The Oura Smart Rings.
The competition: The Oura Smart Rings. (Oura)
First look: The Samsung Smart Ring is expected later this year.
First look: The Samsung Smart Ring is expected later this year. (Samsung)

After years of releasing slightly improved versions of the same products, such as the iPad Pro, many wondered whether Apple needed to remember how to innovate. Others asked whether the Apple Watch would be enough to secure Tim Cook’s legacy as an innovator.

Earlier this year, Apple released the Vision Pro Headset, the first new product in a decade to counteract this narrative. However, there are increasing Apple smart ring leaks that Cook is finally ready to escape Steve Jobs’s shadow with one of the first new consumer product lines since the co-founder’s passing.

Despite Apple filing smart ring patents since 2015, entering a market dominated by Oura and following Samsung’s lead might be perceived by many as a textbook case of copycat tech. So, what can we expect from the Apple Smart Ring?

The Bottom Line

While Apple is seldom the pioneer in introducing new product categories, its foray into any segment often redefines the landscape. The prospect of a Smart Ring by Apple that integrates flawlessly with Apple Health taps into the comprehensive Apple Fitness suite and synchronizes effortlessly with extensive Apple Watch data — effectively an interconnected and seamless health-tracking ecosystem.

However, this advancement brings to light critical ethical considerations about data privacy and tech companies’ responsibility to handle sensitive health information, or lock personal data behind a wellbeing membership, or sell it to third-party partners such as insurers.

Will the future involve lower insurance premiums for those who agree to track their every move and the hours they sleep? The impending rise of smart rings could raise more questions than the answers they claim to offer.

FAQs

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Neil C. Hughes
Senior Technology Writer

Neil is a freelance tech journalist with 20 years of experience in IT. He’s the host of the popular Tech Talks Daily Podcast, picking up a LinkedIn Top Voice for his influential insights in tech. Apart from Techopedia, his work can be found on INC, TNW, TechHQ, and Cybernews. Neil's favorite things in life range from wandering the tech conference show floors from Arizona to Armenia to enjoying a 5-day digital detox at Glastonbury Festival and supporting Derby County.  He believes technology works best when it brings people together.