Apple patents all kinds of things but some are more interesting than others. This new Apple Watch patent very much falls into the ‘very interesting indeed’ camp thanks to its circular display and wrap-around design.
Spotted by MacRumors, the patent is titled “Display Module and System Applications“ and explains how a flexible display could be used to take an Apple Watch screen and wrap it around someone’s wrist.
Imagine an Apple Watch band with a screen on it and you’ll have the right idea.
In one application, embodiments of the invention describe a wearable electronic device, such as a smartwatch, including a flexible display panel and flexible display module. In this manner, the display area of the smartwatch is not limited to a rigid watch face area. In an embodiment, a smartwatch includes a flexible display panel that is integrated into a flexible watch band. Accordingly, curvature of the flexible display panel in both the watch face area and band may be adjusted to conform to the wrist size of the user… the display area of the flexible display panel can cover more available space on the watch face area and band of the smartwatch.
However, there are more uses for such technology. Apple says that it could instead be used to eliminate the need for a bezel around the watch’s screen entirely. That alone would be a huge update for any wearable.
In accordance with embodiments of the invention, a bezel width surrounding the display panel can be minimized, for example below 4-5 mm or even less than 1 mm, less than 0.5 mm, or eliminated. Thus, the bezel design of the smartwatch can be designed for aesthetic concerns rather than as a requirement for allocating space for a contact ledge.
It is, however, always important to remember that Apple does patent everything its engineers come up with. Few of those patents make their way into shipping products and even if this one does, it could be years before anything is ready for our wrists.
Still, it’s always fun to look at what Apple is considering for future products. Whether or not they actually happen.
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