A new set of patents originally granted to Apple earlier this January, which were actually published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office just this morning, reveal that the Silicon Valley tech-giant was — and perhaps still is — mulling the possibility of creating an Apple Watch featuring a traditional, circular display.
According to Cupertino’s patent filings, both of which have been titled “Electronic device having display with curved edges,” the company was apparently investigating a circular display for the Apple Watch as early as this year. However, more than the broader concept of a “circular watch display,” in and of itself, the patents detail the underlying technology, circuitry, and architecture that would make a circular display possible in the first place.
In some embodiments, according to AppleInsider, Apple Watch’s circular display is “housed within an area surrounded by an inactive border region” — within which the circuitry required to power the active, touch-sensitive portions of the display would essentially be hidden. Much akin to the LED/LCD displays employed on Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and the current Apple Watch, a circular display would be comprised of pixels arranged in a series of rows and columns — with the rows and columns being of different lengths, of course, to accommodate the rounded shape; and therefore, the length of driver circuitry hidden within the so-called “inactive border region” would also vary in length, depending on where they’re positioned within the display, itself.
Unlike with traditional, rectangular displays, however, Apple’s patent proposes folding data channels (lines of pixels and associated circuitry) on top of one another — thereby allowing the channels to pass through two or more rows of pixels. This structural design, according to AppleInsider, saves a considerable amount of space, and reduces pixels from overcrowding — while at the same time, enabling every pixel housed within the “active,” touch-responsive area of the display to function properly.
While this design is beautiful, and certainly plausible — particularly seeing as how other smartwatches of the like already employ circular faces, we have to admit that it’s highly unlikely Apple will release a Watch boasting this conceptual design in the near future.
Although it is possible that we could see an Apple Watch crafted in this circular form factor one day down the road — you know, maybe on a future, future generation of Apple Watch… At least for right now, though, as we can see from almost every one of Apple’s existing, LCD-equipped products, the company appears to be set on the good old rectangular display.
Would you prefer the Apple Watch to feature a circular display?
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