Wearable accessory patent application reveals some Apple iWatch-style thinking

Wearable accessory patent application reveals some Apple iWatch-style thinking

Given the growing number of iWatch rumors, it's no wonder this just-released Apple patent application is getting a lot of attention today. Here's what the USPTO document, attributed to Fletcher R. Rothkopf, Derek W. Wright, and Scott A. Myers, tells us in abstract:

A wearable accessory device is disclosed. The wearable accessory device includes a flexible display coupled to a bi-stable spring. Coupling the display to the bi-stable spring allows the accessory device to be easily worn in a number of convenient locations.

Of course, companies patent just about every idea, realistic or not, valid or not, sensible or not, that their engineers and designers come up with. It's very literally their jobs, given intellectual property litigation as it exists today. So, while iMore has learned Apple is moving ahead with the "iWatch" project, unless and until more solid information becomes available, it's impossible to separate any core technology that might actually be used from this patent, from anything doomed forever to remain little more than a render affixed to hands with, as always, overly-large thumbs.

So, while it's tempting to pull from this a "slap watch" concept where a bendable display could be wrapped around your wrist, providing access to all your stuff, much as the iPhone or iPad does today, for now it's an interesting insight into how some people at Apple are thinking about wearable technology, but not much more.

That said, there's an elegance and simplicity to the idea of a display and barely more than a display that resonates with the Apple and Jony Ive vibe, so if there are any elements of this that can be implemented into an actual product, I hope that idea, the minimalism, is it.

Source: USPTO via Engadget

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Wearable accessory patent application reveals some Apple iWatch-style thinking


Anyone think "iWatch" could be the Apple television set we've heard so much about? And maybe all these wrist watch rumors are a diversion?

Just saying, Apple loves being secretive, and that's become much more difficult for them. This would be a great way to throw people off track.