This is the Apple iWatch. Directly from Cupertino R&D labs
A couple of weeks ago there were a lot of rumors that Apple is working on iWatch to be released in a few months. But except for the name, the size of the team and the flexible display to be used in the device, little has been known about it.
Today we can confirm the iWatch is real and even show you some things Apple plans to do with it. It comes straight from Apple’s R&D labs, in the form of a patent application called “Bi-stable spring with flexible display”.
Here are the details:
As the name of the patent app implies, Apple will have a bi-stable spring as a basis for the iWatch. Bi-stable springs are currently used in a decorative accessories such as slap bracelets or slap wraps. Basically, it’s a layered flexible steel band sealed with a fabric cover that has two equilibrium positions. One is flat, the other is curved. You just slap such bi-stable spring bracelet around your wrist and it holds there. No need for complex and cumbersome locking mechanisms , no wasted space.
Then Apple will put a flexible display on a this flexible band.
The display will bend and wrap around your wrist completely, or can have a small portion where all the non-bendable electronics will be stuffed. When you put an iWatch on your hand, if your wrist is not big enough, the bracelet can cover part of the screen. But the bendable display is AMOLED, where Apple can switch off individual pixels. So iWatch will be smart enough (have sensors) to account for differently sized wrists, switch off parts of the screen that are covered, and reconfigure it so that all the necessary information is visible to the user.
Apple is looking at several ways to supply power to the iWatch. These include:
- traditional Li-ion batteries, possibly several small ones dispersed through the bracelet
- “ambient light collectors”. i.e solar batteries, to provide the power necessary for minimal operations in power saving mode
- “kinetic energy gathering device” – which be used to charge Li-ion batteries when iWatch is moving together with your wrist
The iWatch can come in different sizes/configurations. The narrow ones may only be able to display limited/text information alerts, wider ones can display maps, video and other stuff you currently get on your iPhone. The iWatch will have multi-touch interface and will communicate with iPhone in your pocket via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
This is only a patent application for now, but combined with previous reports, I’m pretty sure it is describing a very real device that is on its way to the big announcement. The only question is – how far along Apple is in the iWatch development? Devices with multi-touch interface started showing up in Apple’s patent applications years before they announced the iPhone.
On the other hand, the first iPhone drawing in the patent app showed up only after the device itself was revealed. And here we do have what looks like a somewhat working prototype.
Maybe we won’t have to wait that long, afterall.