Patent Hints at New Apple Watch Design with Flexible Display

Patent Hints at New Apple Watch Design with Flexible Display

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent application today that describes an invention that could be applied to wearable, rollable and foldable displays — and it could hint at a future Apple Watch design, as well as an idea for a flexible and portable ‘TV’.

Some of the figures found in the patent, “Display Module and System Applications,” point toward a possible new design for an Apple Watch — though it’s a bit hidden under the usually dense patent language. Rather than current-generation Watch devices, the figures show off a smartwatch with a continuous display running from the watch face through the band. As you’d expect from an Apple Watch, some embodiments of the device would include a face, band and clasp, as well as a processor, memory and communication module. Underneath the flexible display area would a network of LEDs and microchips.

Additionally, other figures included in the patent depict a “display system” (explicitly called a television as an example), which also features a flexible display. The TV described in the patent wouldn’t be a conventional television that you’d find in a living room, however. In addition to the standard ports like HDMI and USB, such a device would also contain a flexible battery, according to the patent text. To be clear, this TV isn’t the focus of the patent, but it’s an interesting embodiment of a flexible display.

Apple itself is no stranger to flexible displays. In November 2016, Apple was granted a patent for a bendable, flexible smartphone. Earlier that year, in March, Apple applied for a patent for flexible electronic devices and components. And again, in February 2017, Apple was granted a patent for a method of affixing OLED or LCD panels onto a flexible mesh substrate. So while we’re not sure how such a technology will ultimately end up, we know that Apple is at least exploring the idea pretty heavily.

As always, since it is just a patent, there’s no guarantee that the technology described within will actually end up in a mass-produced product. Also worth noting is that this is a utility patent, not a design patent. Basically, that means the figures only provide an overview of the system, and probably don’t depict any new Apple Watch or futuristic TV design in its final form.

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