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New Apple 'iWatch' Patent Application Reveals Slap Bracelet with Wraparound Touch-Sensitive Display

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A newly-published patent application from Apple discovered by AppleInsider discloses a new "bracelet" accessory with a wraparound design where the screen would cover the entire outer surface. While the word "watch" is not used anywhere in the patent application, which was filed in August 2011, the "wearable video device" described in the document could clearly serve as an advanced wristwatch.

The patent application describes a "bi-stable spring" design, where the watch strap would automatically curve snugly around any sized wrist, the two ends overlapping as required. The display itself would be flexible, and the patent describes a method by which any portion of the display covered by the overlap could be automatically switched off.

The device's screen is described as having a "touch-sensitive user interface" overlaid on the flexible display, in contrast to the physical buttons used on existing smart watches like Pebble.

The design comprises a thin flexible steel band within a fabric wrap, with the screen glued to the outer surface and the electronics and battery glued to the inner surface, though it also refers to the possibility of a more robust design with a fabric frame surrounding the display.

The display appears to be made up of a series of flexible segments which would be flat when the watch is placed on a desk but which curve as much as needed to fit the wrist when the watch is worn.

The patent application also gives clues as to the possible size of the watch, suggesting a width of one inch. though it should be noted that this refers only to the 'typical' width of such bracelets rather than any specific plan by Apple:
The most recent widespread use of such a device was the slap bracelet, also called the slap wrap. The slap bracelet consists of layered flexible steel bands sealed within a fabric cover. Typical slap bracelets are roughly one inch in width by nine inches in length. In a first equilibrium position they can be flat. The second equilibrium is typically reached by slapping the flat embodiment across the wrist, at which point the bracelet curls around the wrist and stays relatively secure in a roughly circular position.
The patent suggests that gyroscopes and accelerometers would be used to allow the watch to determine the orientation of the display, depending, for example, on whether it was worn on left or right wrist.

The patent application also lends weight to speculation that the watch would be a partner device to an iPhone rather than a standalone product, as it refers to "a method for passing information between an accessory device disposed on one surface of a bi-stable spring substrate and a portable electronic device." The watch would act as an input device as well as a display, with reference to a virtual keyboard.

While plugging in the watch to a power source appears to be the primary means of charging the battery, the patent also discusses options for solar power and kinetic charging of the battery, two technologies Apple has addressed in previous patent applications.

Many of Apple's patent applications of course never come to fruition in the form of released products, with Apple instead seeking to control certain technologies or aspects of devices that may appear in completely different forms. As a result, it is unlikely that Apple has plans to launch such a slap bracelet watch accessory, but the patent application does give some insight into what Apple has been considering as it has worked on the project.

Article Link: New Apple 'iWatch' Patent Application Reveals Slap Bracelet with Wraparound Touch-Sensitive Display
 

AppleScruff1

macrumors G4
Feb 10, 2011
10,026
2,948
I wonder if it will be water resistant? That would be important IMO if they are targeting it to the average Joe.
 
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newdeal

macrumors 68020
Oct 21, 2009
2,398
1,523
...

this has the potential to be back to the future level stuff. I have no doubt they will pull it off and while I think googles glasses are a good theory this looks like something I may actually wear
 
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ChristianVirtual

macrumors 601
May 10, 2010
4,111
278
日本
Was thinking the same when we recently discussed the thick mockups ... Why not use the space to the display ?

No color and style discussion: there is an app for it ...
 
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ironsienna

macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2010
215
0
This is the next big thing! I can't wait to call my automated Google car with one of these!

Although I will definitely stay with my current hairstyle!


 
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G4DP

macrumors 65816
Mar 28, 2007
1,451
3
A slap on strap? They were a kids toy 20 years ago, it was a crap idea then, it won't have improved

It'll soon loose it's ability to form a tight fit.
 
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thewinelake

macrumors newbie
Jan 9, 2008
26
0
Yawn... Another iDoubtIt

As the article says, Apple uses a lot of patents in defensive territorial-establishment mode.

I suspect this is designed to prevent small companies (but not big ones) bringing vaguely similar innovations to the market.

Apple does have a truly exciting stash of patents - how many does it have on Augmented Reality goggles? I just wish they'd bring more of them to the market, or at least allow someone else to do so until they do.
 
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b166er

macrumors 68020
Apr 17, 2010
2,062
18
Philly
I'd like to see if they have any actual plans for a watch, but I think we can all safely assume any kind of slap bracelet type design is not gonna happen.
 
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GenesisST

macrumors 68000
Jan 23, 2006
1,715
691
Where I live
I wonder if it will be water resistant? That would be important IMO if they are targeting it to the average Joe.

Yep... I mentioned it before... Having young kids that resist bath time is a perfect example... I've lost my last watch like this... Might get a new watch when my youngest is able to take her damn bath by herself.
 
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Shrink

macrumors G3
Feb 26, 2011
8,931
1,606
New England, USA
What happens if you have a small wrist. It says the overlapping portions would be disabled...so if you had a small wrist only a small portion of the strap would function as a display.

The only solution would be to gain a huge amount of weight so you would have a fatter wrist and therefore, a larger display area!!:p
:rolleyes:
 
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tekno

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2011
842
4
Can companies just patent whatever they think of or do they need the technology to back it up?
 
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Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
1,687
316
A lot hype regarding this watch thing, so it must be real then, and I'm excited about it.
the same hype when apple would introduce a smaller ipad, which some people dont believe its coming :rolleyes:
 
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bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
What happens if you have a small wrist. It says the overlapping portions would be disabled...so if you had a small wrist only a small portion of the strap would function as a display.

The only solution would be to gain a huge amount of weight so you would have a fatter wrist and therefore, a larger display area!!:p
:rolleyes:

it'll probably be sold in the US only ... problem solved :p jk
 
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