Apple Wakes Up in the Sleep Sector; Causes Insomnia for Competitors

In most markets Apple is considered the 900-lb gorilla. But in our Patent Forecast® Sleep Sector, Apple is nothing more than a sleeping gorilla.  They have a major advantage in this industry, which is their Apple Watch. Maybe now they are finally taking advantage of it. In 2017, the company began its investment in consumer sleep by acquiring Beddit, which makes a sleep tracking strip that attaches to a mattress. The acquisition included Beddit’s four patents. Apple then began patenting aggressively in Data Processing and Analytics before finally bringing native sleep tracking to its Apple Watch in the summer of 2020. The Patent Forecast® shows that Apple has also been diversifying to sensors and environmental control.

Apple’s most recent patent application is its first in environmental control and describes a mattress pad with actuator cushions for helping a user sleep and/or wake up. While this is a new area for the company, the function could integrate easily into existing Beddit products. In addition, Apple is well-positioned to dominate Environmental Control, and specifically haptics. None of the other companies in the small subcategory make wearables or smartphones like Apple does. If Apple decides to commit to this area, it could create unique consumer sleep products that integrate well into its other technology. Focusing on this niche may be more productive since Fitbit (owned by Google) and Samsung are much more patent prolific in other areas of consumer sleep.

Check out the Consumer Sleep Patent Forecast® to understand trends and context in patent data.