Rumors say that Apple is making an iWatch with a curved glass display, and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office just granted a patent for such a device. The patent in question was filed by Apple back in August 2011, and it describes a “touch-sensitive” bracelet that wraps around the human wrist and locks into place.
Apple calls it a “wearable video device” with a flexible display that “conforms to an appendage of the end-user.” The watch would be used to communicate with another device, like an iPhone.
Patently Apple explains:
Apple’s patent relates to a wearable video device arranged to be worn by an end-user. The wearable video device includes the following: (1) a flexible substrate having a flat state and a curled state; and (2) a flexible display disposed upon a first surface of the flexible substrate, where in the curled state the flexible substrate conforms to an appendage of the end-user. The flexible substrate also includes an electronic module in communication with the flexible display, the electronic module providing information to the display, at least a part of which is presented in real time for presentation by the display.
A steel or fabric band would be used within a fabric wrap, and the outer display would be divided into flexible segments. Gyroscopes and accelerometers would be used to tell the device its orientation and possibly track the user’s movements. Apple’s patent describes the device as a “method for passing information between an accessory device.”
Solar and kinetic charging is referenced in the patent, but Apple could always decide to just use a Lightning connector for USB power. Conductive charging would be very nice, but that technology has not been implemented well yet.
The full patent document goes into way more detail. Apple reportedly has over 100 people working on a wristwatch computer, but an expected release date is unknown.