Using mobile devices while driving tends to be a dangerous-at-best, deadly-at-worst combination, one that’s compounded even further when said mobile device is strapped to your wrist.
To potentially help with reducing distracted driving, Apple has patented a new feature seemingly intended for its Apple Watch wearable that cuts down on notifications as soon as its wearer hits the road.
Originally filed back in September of last year, the patent describes using the Watch’s motion-tracking features to detect when the user is going at high speeds, similar to how app sensation Pokemon Go activates its own ‘please don’t hunt Psyducks going 60mph, please’ feature.
From there, the patent describes a system of prioritizing which messages light up on the Watch’s screen, as well as curbs the wearable’s raise-to-wake display feature. This would ensure that more urgent matters “such as emergency calls” to come through, but holds off on that spam email or Facebook notification.
Apple Watch The Road, Bub
The patent also describes cutting distractions by divvying up some of the Apple Watch’s notification features to the car itself, mentioning that alerts could be rerouted “to interface elements within the vehicle,” such as the dashboard screen, a windshield HUD, or in-car speaker system.
Given Apple’s past work blending iOS features with vehicles with Apple CarPlay, plus the Apple Watch’s recently uncovered Theater Mode — which dims the screen and shushes alerts for the next time you’re at the movies — it wouldn’t be a stretch for Apple to equip its wearable with a distraction-free driving mode.
That said, a patent is not a promise, so we’ll just have to wait until later this year when Apple shows us what’s next for watchOS.