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In the future, Apple might bring us a flexible Apple Watch with a screen that will wrap around your wrist. According to the company’s new patent, first filed in 2018, the patented tech can be used for wearable, rollable, and foldable displays.

Apple patent illustration showing a watch with extended flexible display

The patent shows a watch layout beyond the typical rectangular form of the current Apple Watch. In the illustration, the watch is illustrated to have extended parts that will also be made as serve as screens. However, the notable detail about it is that the extended screens will be “flexible,” consuming some areas that are conventionally for straps. This will give the wearer more screen space to view different information, even from different angles.

According to the document, the patent named “Display Module And System Applications” will also allow adjustment of both the watch face and band area, so it can fit the user’s wrist. Additionally, the patent details that there will be a “first display area” and a “second display area,” which will respectively display the watch face design and watch band design via a dedicated graphical user interface manager. This means that although the watch appears to have one display, Apple plans to divide it into sections that will allow it to simultaneously show different information and design elements.

Then again, the patent is not limited to wearables. As the document stresses, it can also be applied to rollables and foldables. It shares that “the display panel may be incorporated into a television display that is rollable or foldable into and out of a housing.” It adds that “in an embodiment, the flexible television display panel is coupled to a spool onto which the display panel is rollable or foldable.” The document also shares a case where the display panel is used on smartphones or tablets “folded into various configurations.” This is an interesting idea since there are already rumors claiming Apple is already exploring foldable or flippable smartphones.

Apple slap bracelet wallet

On the other hand, while the news about the patent sounds exciting for Apple fans, it is important to note that it is not the first time the company explored the idea of a flexible device. In 2015, Apple was also granted a patent involving a wearable accessory device with “a flexible display coupled to a bi-stable spring.” The patent, however, is focused on using the tech as slap bracelets.

These patents are a good indication that Apple is now significantly investing in flexible display technology. The latest one, however, gives us a bigger hint that Apple wants to integrate it beyond its Apple Watch creations, which include iPads, iPhones, and Apple TVs. The recent patent also supports the current rumors about an Apple foldable smartphone, which might mean the company is really serious about introducing such a creation to the market in the coming years.


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