Does the New Apple Patent Hint at a Revolutionary Watch?

Apple releases have shook up the world many times over since it was founded back in 1976. Whether it was their role in the home computer revolution, portable music devices or smart handheld devices – Apple have always lived by their slogan “Think Different”. It is perhaps this slogan which has made their recent foray into the world of smartwatches so underwhelming. Sure, the Apple Watch may be a fantastic smartwatch but it may be fair to say that it doesn’t do anything that other wearables don’t already do.

That is one reason why a new Apple patent may be the most exciting thing to come out of Apple in years! It also brings with it an exciting question, does this new Apple patent hint at a revolution in watchmaking?

The New Apple Patent

There are a lot of potential uses for this filed Apple patent which states that it “may be a laptop computer, a tablet computer, a cellular telephone, a wristwatch, or other electronic device.” Which seems to indicate that the technology could be used for a wide range of different possible devices. With such a wide range of possible uses it’s exciting to see what exactly this patent is for!

The new Apple patent has been filed for a “foldable electronic device” – a technology which has been in the works for many electronic companies in recent years. A foldable electronic device could potentially allow for a mobile phone which could be folded up to make for better portability, flexible monitor screens and possibly even tablets which can be folded up to prevent screen damage. Many outlets have already announced that this Apple patent will be for a smartphone device, but this misses the potential that this technology could provide for an exciting revolutionary watch device!

The Revolutionary Watch Possibilities

A foldable electronic screen display could absolutely lead to exciting smartphone or tablet devices. But that isn’t all that could be done with such exciting technology. Smartwatches may currently be hampered by the limitations of such a tiny screen display which lead to many exciting smart features being impractical on such a device. However a foldable display, like that suggested in the Apple patent, could potentially lead to a real revolution in the smartwatch industry.

Recent Samsung patents have suggested that they have been working on technology which allows for a foldable screen and can be worn on the wrist. It would be no surprise to see Apple working on a very similar concept which could, perhaps, allow for an overlap in a smartphone and a wearable device. A screen which could fold around the wrist could allow for a device which could function as a watch and also be removed from the wrist for use as a traditional smartphone. This would allow for a lot of screen space which could actually be usable on the wrist for certain features current smartwatches do not allow.

While this may sound like the stuff of science fiction, there have already been flexible OLED prototypes which have demonstrated that this kind of device may be possible. It appears to be only a matter of time before a technology manufacturer takes the step to bring such a device to the market – and this Apple patent may suggest that the manufacturer could actually be Apple. If that turned out to be the case then reports of Apple’s creative demise may prove to be quite premature! This is one story that will be worth keeping an eye on – while it may take a while for a patent to be accepted and even longer before a consumer device is developed, it would certainly be one worth waiting for!

Images: By Kuebi = Armin Kübelbeck (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Author: Richard

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