There's been a lot of chatter about Apple creating a smartwatch--a wearable computer that syncs with a smartphone--on such publications as, um, this one, as of late. And now Patently Apple has snagged a recently filed patent from Apple which shows what seems to be exactly that: a wrist-mounted computer.
This does not, however, mean that Apple will come out with a product that looks anything like this. It doesn't even necessarily mean that Apple is working on anything very much like this. It does mean Apple is thinking about something like this, but the chances that it'll ever actually exist? Who knows. Brian Barrett over at Gizmodo has a good analysis of what a patent filing like this actually means: it means that Apple is covering its bases, giving itself legal protection for these ideas just in case the company does ever want to make anything like this. And that's why the patent is so broad, applying as it does to even power sources as varied as solar and kinetic--Apple wants to protect itself as thoroughly as possible.
So! The patent is for a snap-band sort of bracelet, with a flexible screen that wraps all the way around the device. Flexible screens like that are a popular future-tech to work on, but they're not actually that good just yet--they tend to be low-resolution, brittle, and quite expensive. Apple specifically names a few use cases, like displaying maps, or, interestingly, flashing lights, which could be of use to cyclists.
Anyway, it's interesting to read, but definitely important to remember that this is not a preview for a product--it's a legal document offering intellectual property protection. But if Apple was to release something like this, would you guys be interested?
damnnit apple! this is samsungs stuff! stop this!
Im pretty sure thats a picture of those snap bands from the 80's.
Correct me if I am wrong but aren't all patents publicly available?
Apple is now patenting the wrist watch?
Oops a flexible display watch already exists.
But if Apple can patent a rectangle (iPhone shape)and a latch (slide to unlock), I guess they can patent any device that already exists.
I'm guessing that the iPhone shape and latch are what's know as 'Design Patents'. These define a certain look and feel of a particular type of thing. You can patent a wallpaper pattern, but I think that they have to be quite specific. (That's why you can make other devices with rectangular cases :) )
It's a strange part of the patent world.
As for the watch, it will be interesting to see what holds up.