Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office back in August 2011. The patent, which was published Thursday, points at a wearable accessory device that comes with full-length flexible touch screen display. The filing says the device can easily be worn on the wrist or other body part. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, predicted a couple of months ago that a wearable computer will be the next Apple blockbuster.
When active, it can connect with a portable devices via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to display real-time relevant information on a flexible display that can fully wrap around your wrist. The invention would embed electronic components and a flexible display into a conventional slap bracelet.
In another embodiment, the scientists propose a terrific design where the flexible display can be mounted on the bracelet, which can then be framed using a thicker and comfortable fabric covering. The patent notes that the critical electronic components and switches should be resistant to fatigue because its shape will change depending on whether the user wears it or takes it off. When it is wrapped around your arm, it can take the form of an uninterrupted touch screen.
As for usability, the filing notes that the accessory’s features would go far beyond displaying information from portable devices. Using the touch screen input, users can adjust current playlists, reply to a text message or review the list of recent phone calls.
For battery life, the patent relies on the idea that everyday wrist movements create kinetic energy that can be converted to power to recharge the battery. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has also considered including ambient light energy collectors, also known as solar panels, on the bracelet to boost battery life. It will have a simple virtual keyboard with AMOLED screen display, which will reduce energy consumption.
Industry watchers have said that a wearable device is the next step in mobile technology. This patent application is evidence that the iPhone maker is working on the so-called “iWatch.”