Apple Invents a way for a Child or Employee’s Apple Watch to be Controlled by a Parent or Employer


 

Yesterday the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a future Satellite Apple Watch that could perform tasks like an iPhone that is controlled by a parent of a child. A secondary application involves a corporate Apple Watch given to key employees and controlled by a company to update calendars and corporate information.

 

Patent Abstract: Apple’s invention provides for a satellite device that can be associated with a user account of a minor aged (e.g., child or adolescent) user that does not have a smartphone that can be used as a companion device to the satellite device.

 

The satellite device can be configured to be used as a primary device, without reliance upon a paired smartphone. Certain information can be synchronized with the satellite device via the association with the family account. During initial configuration, a set of cryptographic keys can be generated to associate the account of the satellite device with the set of accounts in the family. The satellite device can then access calendars, media, or other data that is shared with user accounts within a family of user accounts.

 

Apple further states that certain information can be synchronized with the satellite device via the association with the family account. During initial configuration, a set of cryptographic keys can be generated to associate the account of the satellite device with the set of accounts in the family.

 

The satellite device can then access calendars, media, or other data that is shared with user accounts within a family of user accounts. Where a child user does not have an account to associated with the satellite device, a parent user can create an account on behalf of the child user.

 

Secondarily, Apple notes that in another example, a satellite device can be managed device of an employee, with some functionality associated with an enterprise management account.

 

Apple’s patent FIGS. 4A-4C below illustrate exemplary instruction screens to enable setup of a wearable device; FIGS. 5A-5B illustrate user interfaces to configure an accessory device as a satellite accessory.

 

2 Satellite Apple Watch  controlled by Parent  or Employer

 

Further to patent FIG. 4A Apple notes that the instruction screen #400 includes text (#402) instructing the user to take a picture of instruction screen with a camera on the external device (iPhone #450).

 

The instruction screen also includes an image containing a pattern #404. The displayed image may include wavelengths that are visible to the human eye. The image may also include wavelengths that are invisible to the human eye but can be produced by the display on the Apple Watch (#300) and detected by the camera of the iPhone (#450).  

 

In one embodiment, the instruction screen (#400) may display an invisible image containing the pattern along with a visible image. The visible image may be aesthetically appealing to the user, while the invisible image may contain information that can be and/or is easier to recognize and/or process by a processor facilitating the pairing.

 

This is a very detailed invention. Beyond the outline, the patent filing covers a lot of territory broken into chapters as presented below:

 

  • Authenticating and Creating an Account on Behalf of Another User
  • User Interfaces to Facilitate Use as a Primary Device
  • Synchronization of Data Between a Satellite and Management Device
  • Software and Updates for Satellite and Management Devices
  • Peer to Peer Configuration of Satellite Devices
  • Hardware Updates for Satellite and Management Devices
  • Additional Exemplary Device Architectures

 

Apple’s patent application number 20200359204 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q2 2020 with two provisional patents related to this invention filed back in mid-2019. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.

 

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