The US Patent and Trademark Office today published an Apple patent application 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 than to an idea of flexible and portable ‘ THE TV’.
Some of the numbers found in the patent, “Display Module and System Applications”, point to 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 numbers show 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 dial, strap, and clasp, along with a processor, memory, and communications module. Beneath the flexible display area would be an array of LEDs and microchips.
Additionally, other figures included in the patent describe a “display system” (explicitly referred to as an exemplary television), which also features a flexible display. However, the television described in the patent would not be a conventional television that you would find in a living room. In addition to 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 screen.
Apple itself is no stranger to flexible displays. In November 2016, Apple was granted a patent for a foldable and flexible smartphone. Earlier that year, in March, Apple filed a patent application for flexible electronic devices and components. And again, in February 2017, Apple was granted a patent for a method of attaching OLED or LCD panels to a flexible mesh substrate. So while we don’t know how such technology will end up, we do know that Apple is at least exploring the idea quite seriously.
As always, since this is only a patent, there is no guarantee that the technology described will actually end up in a mass-produced product. It should also be noted that this is a utility patent and not a design patent. Basically, that means the numbers only provide an overview of the system and likely don’t represent any new Apple Watch or futuristic TV design in its final form.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]