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Instead of the familiar square design of the Apple Watch with a separate band, Apple also looked for one-piece fabrication from a curved or wrap-around screen.
Where competitors have produced smartwatches with round screens, Apple has always maintained its squarer design from the beginning until the current Apple Watch Series 6. Among the many patents filed and granted by Apple, there are now one that seems to center on a round face.
The harmless name “Display Module and System Applications” is a recently granted patent, with numerous illustrations of what appears to be a round-faced Apple Watch. Significantly, none of the illustrations show an example of an Apple Watch face.
Rather, they show what the patent describes as a “flexible display screen” which can be used on any type of “portable electronic device”.
“In one embodiment, the portable electronic device is a smart watch comprising a dial, bracelet, and clasp,” the patent states. “A flexible display panel can be integrated into the smart watch so that it extends over both the face and the strap of the watch.”
Illustrations of flexible display configurations and their descriptions show rows of display elements. They are only illustrative, but what they suggest is that a Watch display could consist of multiple panels – and each is square or rectangular.
However, Apple is clearly concerned with making the most of a device’s space to display as much display as possible. “[For instance]”, says Apple,” a bezel width surrounding the display panel can be minimized, for example below 4-5mm or even less than 1mm, less than 0.5mm, or eliminated. “
“So the smartwatch bezel design can be designed for aesthetic reasons rather than as a requirement to allocate space for a contact rim,” he continues.
Apple has previously researched flexible displays for a potential foldable iPhone. Research has also been carried out on the manufacture of Apple Watch bands that can provide information to the wearer in Braille.