Looks like the iWatch has moved from being just an idea to a concept. We already knew Apple had a 100-man team working on the wearable, smartphone-like device and it seems Apple has some great innovations in store for the watch.
A patent application filed by the company with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) shows the direction it intends to take. The application, discovered by AppleInsider, shows that the iWatch not only has a full-length flexible touch screen, but can be worn like a slap-on bracelet.
An image showing the continuous display on the iWatch
The bracelet will be held in place by a heat sealed, bi-stable spring that would be made of thin steel and wrapped in fabric. The display would be overlaid with an adhesive over one side of the bracelet, while the device's logic board, battery and other parts would be mounted to one end. The bracelet would cover the vital electronics module when it is being worn.
The iWatch would have a number of features, including the ability to respond to text messages, show you a call registry, re-order playlists and more. A virtual keyboard appears over the flexible screen when needed, so users can shoot off emails or replies to their pals.
Solar panels and kinetic energy gathering have been included in the application, giving us an indication of how the device will charge itself when on the move. Of course, when you have a power socket nearby, the device can charge its battery thanks to physical connectors.
According to the patent application, “Active communication between an accessory and a portable electronic device can be accomplished wirelessly. For example, a wireless data connection such as the 5GHz 802.11n protocol can provide sufficient data transmission bandwidth to transmit a high quality video stream.”
Another image showing the display, Wi-Fi antenna, battery and a connector
The patent petition also details how applications like Maps would work with just a "flick of the wrist.” The device also has LED lights and vibration feedback to alert users of new events.
A wearable device will have to conform to different everyday situations and adjust its orientation accordingly, and for this, Apple says it will included a gyroscope and accelerometer to properly orient the screen without the users needing to crane their necks. Apple also addresses the problem of making a device that fits everyone with an ‘end-detection’ sensor that will be located at one end of the device and can turn off one part of the display depending on how much of it overlaps with the bracelet.
There is no mention of whether the iWatch will be a standalone device or something that works best when bundled with an iPhone or iPad. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Apple product if it didn’t require some measure of interconnectivity with other iOS devices. In any case, with the patent application now out in the open, it won’t be long before more news about the iWatch trickles down the grapevine.