Apple has ideas about how to make mobile hotspots more elegant. In a new application published by the US Patent and Trademark Office today, the company outlines how to improve on the hotspot battery life and overall ease of use, potentially making them more reliable for anyone who needs mobile Wi-Fi.
In the application, originally filed in November 2013, Apple breaks down how hotspots in public areas have proliferated but often suffer from signal and security issues. Meanwhile, current mobile hotspots are often clunky and have poor battery life, while tethering to a smartphone, while convenient, might be cumbersome in certain situations. To help mitigate those problems, Apple's own mobile hotspot would be simple, secure, and presumably more portable than what's already out there.
The cylindrical hotspot would have no external controls — imagine configuring the network using only software — and would come in two parts. One half would contain the necessary antennas and SIM card reader you'd need to get online, and the other half is a battery pack that can be upgraded to larger cells.
Joggers might want to pair this with an Apple Watch
The design is a neat solution for everyday mobile use, but it's easy to imagine using the hotspot to connect to the Apple Watch while running or exercising. Apple details how users might want to connect to the internet while jogging, and carrying an iPhone without an armband can be tricky. Using the Watch to actively track your run without needing to carry your phone would be a much-needed step forward for the device (apart from giving it its own internet connection). Still, like any patent, it remains to be seen if Apple will release its design as a product.