One of the patents is for a biometric sensor integrated into a band that could give you a new way to unlock your Watch or paired iPhone instead of using a passcode or Face ID. The patent covers a thermal sensor that could use skin texture and wrist hair patterns to authenticate your identity.
Another patent unearthed by Patently Apple relates to indicators built into a band. They could display details from the Activity app, such as a step counter or heart rate monitor. The band could also highlight the type of activity your Watch is tracking, such as running or swimming, which would be a handy way to check your device is recording the correct data. In the patent, Apple suggests the indicator could be a more subtle way to check sensitive health-related details without people nearby glimpsing that information on the Watch screen.
The third patent the USPTO granted Apple concerns a motorized, self-tightening band that may ensure you have a perfect fit. Your Watch might move around during a workout. Heart-rate monitoring requires a tight fit, so a self-adjusting band could keep the wearable in the correct place as you work up a sweat. The band might also tighten to give you a heart rate reading before automatically loosening again to keep your blood flowing.
Again, Apple may ultimately decide not to include any of this tech inside Watch bands. Still, in a world in which self-lacing shoes exist, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine a similar feature for your smartwatch. In any case, Apple might reveal the next iteration of its wearable at next week's iPhone event.