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Apple patents a round-faced version of its Watch...sort of

A diagram from Apple's new patent. (Source: USPTO via MacRumors)
A diagram from Apple's new patent. (Source: USPTO via MacRumors)
Apple was the OEM to kick off the square-faced wearable trend back in 2015. However, many consumers might still prefer it went with a circular display for the various generations of Watch instead. According to a new US patent, the Cupertino giant may have finally designed one - more or less. It seems this round smartwatch screen also extends along the band on both sides thanks to flexible-panel technology.

Many Android OEMs are compelled to release their smartwatches with square or squircle faces, thanks to the Apple Watch's rise to benchmark status among such wearables over the years. However, according to MacRumors, the company might go a different way with its signature accessory in the future.

The blog has dug up a patent filed by Apple with the USPTO in 2018. Published in 2020, the document lays claim to a wearable design that, like the Nubia Watch, uses flexible technology to allow the display in question to wrap nearly all the way around the user's wrist, rather than remaining confined to a central rigid module strapped on with a band.

This display apparently does so via a network of the LEDs and electronics as necessary running throughout the device underneath this flexible panel. This might imply a role for cutting-edge bendable battery tech as well; however, it seems Apple has settled for a more conventional power-pack located under the "watchface" zone instead. It bulges outward into a round-ish interface at that point.

On that note, those hoping for OLED in the first generation of any actual hardware based on this patent just might be disappointed: as Apple notes in the document text, the material might be too fragile and susceptible to damage from air or water exposure without traditional protective glass coverings.

Then again, these potential issues might be less pressing over time as display technology matures in the future. In addition, this new development in Apple wearable design could also reduce or even negate bezels in a resultant device. Then again, as the patent has not been approved for that long, it may be some time before this "wraparound Watch" becomes a reality.

Buy an Apple Watch SE from Amazon



More diagrams that depict Apple's new IP. (Source: USPTO via MacRumors)
More diagrams that depict Apple's new IP. (Source: USPTO via MacRumors)


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Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Senior Tech Writer - 5100 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 03 > Apple patents a round-faced version of its Watch...sort of
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-03-24 (Update: 2021-03-24)