Three patents show how Apple wants to monitor activities, automate alarms and notifications using iPhone and wearable sensors

iWatch mockup

The “iWatch saga” continues, and this time round we have three Apple patents to discuss, brought to our attention by AppleInsider.

The first patent, titled “Method and apparatus for personal characterization data collection using sensors,” envisions a smartphone or similar portable device to respond automatically to data sent by various sensors coming from either the iPhone or other wearable devices, or both. When an action or motion is sensed, a signal is relayed to the hub device for processing. Then, the hub can conclude what the user is doing and execute a number of predefined, automated tasks. In the first application, the task is to generate a “personal scorecard” that sheds light on a user’s lifestyle.

It is still unknown whether any of these patents/technologies will be used in the upcoming iWatch.Then there’s the second patent, titled “Method and apparatus for automatically setting alarms and notifications,” which uses the motion data to set alarms. For instance, the system will recognize when you’ve had a night out and let you sleep a bit longer, even if you’ve set the alarm for 6am. And again, this data can be collected both from the iPhone and other wearable devices.

Finally, a third filing for a “Method and apparatus for automatically repeating alarms and notifications in response to device motion” uses sensors to determine when and how a user is alerted to notifications like missed calls and messages. Here, Apple will suppress notifications if it decides that’s best for your well-being.

It is still unknown whether any of these patents/technologies will be used in the upcoming iWatch. Apple’s recently unveiled Healthkit and the Health app suggest the Cupertino-based company is looking to expand into the healthcare market, and their smart watch is rumored to come with a number of sensors to better track our whereabouts.

Apple’s activity sensing and scheduling patent applications were all filed for on Dec. 14, 2012.