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Apple patent app describes flexible, wearable, watch-like AMOLED device

Mat Smith, @thatmatsmith
February 21, 2013
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Apples and oranges watches. Today's bumper pack of patent applications from Cupertino included this nugget, outlining a small flexible screen that's paired with a "bi-stable spring." In normal lexicon, we're talking about one of those slap bracelets that go from completely straight to wrap-around in an instant. Interestingly enough, Apple isn't the only tech company sniffing around these bracelets as a possible holster for their tech -- Nokia mused on slightly similar notions back in March 2012.

This is an application, so most of what today's filing tells us is certainly not set in stone, but new ideas include a "kinetic energy gathering component" within the band -- like the trickle charge feature found on watches -- to pump energy back into the device. One example embodiment of the idea includes a touchscreen interface that will allow music browsing, phone call reviews and even text input through a "simple virtual keyboard." The concept also mentions AMOLED screen tech, as those deactivated (so, black) pixels would assist in eking out battery life in a device where space is definitely at a premium. The filing also suggests that the device could house an end-detection sensor, allowing the wearable to configure itself to each user, regardless of differing wrist measurements, and deactivate sections of the flexible display that aren't on show. This particular application was made in August 2011 -- a fair while before the recent increase in iWatch murmurings. As is the case with Apple's patent contributions, however, we'll wait to see whether the patent is granted and whether these ideas will ever crystallize into a genuine product. In the meantime, maybe it's time to buy up some snap bracelets on eBay: they might just be making a comeback.

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