Apple Watch patent reveals possible huge redesign, flexible display

Watch Patent
Watch Patent (Image credit: iMore / USPTO)

What you need to know

  • A new Apple Watch patent has been granted to Apple.
  • It reveals a potentially huge redesign featuring a wrap-around display.

A new Apple Watch patent has been uncovered that points to a future design overhaul featuring a wrap-around LED display.

Spotted by MacRumors, the patent is titled 'Display module and system applications' and its abstract states:

A display module and system applications including a display module are described. The display module may include a display substrate including a front surface, a back surface, and a display area on the front surface. A plurality of interconnects extend through the display substrate from the front surface to the back surface. An array of light emitting diodes (LEDs) are in the display area and electrically connected with the plurality of interconnects, and one or more driver circuits are on the back surface of the display substrate. Exemplary system applications include wearable, rollable, and foldable displays.

Whilst that doesn't sound very exciting, images reveal the patent includes iterations for a new type of Apple Watch with a much more ergonomic design and a flexible display:

In another aspect, embodiments of the invention describe packaging configurations of flexible display panels into flexible display modules that can be incorporated into a variety of applications. In one application, embodiments of the invention describe a wearable electronic device, such as a smartwatch, including a flexible display panel and flexible display module. In this manner, the display area of the smartwatch is not limited to a rigid watch face area. In an embodiment, a smartwatch includes a flexible display panel that is integrated into a flexible watch band. Accordingly, curvature of the flexible display panel in both the watch face area and band may be adjusted to conform to the wrist size of the user. In addition, it is not required to include a FPC attached to the display area side of the display substrate. In this manner, the display area of the flexible display panel can cover more available space on the watch face area and band of the smartwatch.

The patent also points to an Apple Watch without a bezel, or indeed a digital crown. Just a patent at this, stage, the new design may never see the light of day, and if it does it is likely years away. Right now, the best Apple Watch you can buy is the Apple Watch Series 6.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9