In early 2013 when “iTV” rumors were swirling at full force, analysts were tripping over themselves trying to add fuel to the fire. Research notes covered things like panel size, release timeframe, pricing and features, and the media covered them all fairly widely. Of course, Apple’s much rumored iTV never materialized, and it doesn’t look like the company has plans to launch an HDTV anytime soon.
Amid those analyst reports was one in particular that was by far the most ridiculous, absurd, outlandish Apple rumor we have ever seen… and as it turns out, it was probably accurate.
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Analyst Brian White, then at Topeka Capital Markets, made a name for himself among gadget news sites by being one of the first people to report that Apple was making an iPad mini. He was also very early and at least somewhat accurate on other Apple plans that ended up materializing.
In April 2013, White sent out a note to clients that made just about everyone who covers the industry question his credibility.
We did a good job of keeping a straight face when we reported on White’s April 3, 2013 research note, which claimed that Apple was getting close to launching the iTV. On the inside, however, we couldn’t stop laughing.
In the note, White claimed that Apple would launch an accessory alongside its HDTV that he called the “iRing.” Preposterous though it may sound, White wrote that the iRing would be worn by an iTV user, facilitating precise gesture controls.
“We believe Apple will release a miniature device called ‘iRing’ that will be placed on a user’s finger and act as a navigation pointer for ‘iTV,’ enhancing the motion detection experience and negating some of the functionality found in a remote,” White said.
Well, guess what: The iRing is real.
A patent unearthed by Patently Apple on Thursday morning covers a device that unquestionably fits White’s description from back in 2013. There’s no mention of an iTV of any kind, of course, but it is entirely possible that Apple was testing the device alongside HDTV prototypes back in 2013.
The patent in question is titled “Devices and Methods for a Ring Computing Device,” and the abstract describes a device that sounds eerily like White’s iRing: “A user controls an external electronic device with a finger-ring-mounted touchscreen that includes a computer processor, wireless transceiver, and rechargeable power source; the ring is worn on a first finger receives an input from a second finger, selects one of a plurality of touch events associated with the input, and wirelessly transmits a command associated with the touch event to the external electronic device.”
An image below submitted with the patent application shows a sketch of Apple’s ring concept.
Follow the links below in our source section for more information on the device. And to you, Mr. White, we offer our sincerest apologies; Apple is clearly crazier than we thought.