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Could Apple's iWatch Have A Curved OLED Screen?

By Tony Ibrahim | Friday | 22/02/2013

Apple is researching a wearable watch according to a recently uncovered patent filing.

It feels like a while since Apple introduced something revolutionary. The iPad was the last product to change the trajectory of the consumer electronics industry, but apart from redefining the tablet, the company has been preoccupied with making existing technologies thinner, like their bulimic iMacs.

Pundits, having exhausted speculation a revolutionary television is coming from Apple, are now predicting the company will release a watch. The filing of a new patent to the US Patent and Trademark Office gives this theory some credence.

Click to enlarge

AppleInsider was first to eye the filing, which details a watch distinguished by a curved screen. The screen wraps around your wrist to stream information originating from a smartphone or tablet via bluetooth or WiFi. As AppleInsider's editor Mikey Campbell said in a phone interview with Bloomberg TV, the technology detailed in the patent is unlikely to make it to the market within the next six months to a year. Campbell does, however, recognise "parts are going to make it."

Curved screens

The release of OLED televisions might be upon us, but smaller sized OLED screens, like those used in smartphones, have been around for years. In fact, we're beginning to see concepts of small curved OLED screens from Apple-supplier and rival Samsung.

At CES 2013, Samsung showed off their Youm concept. These smartphones were distinguished by curving OLED screens which would allow users to glean information in new ways. Several reports claim Samsung is striving to release the technology to the market—some claim their close too—but Apple is trying to wean their reliance on Samsung. Using them as an iWatch supplier would be antithetical to their efforts.

Click to enlarge

Another supplier Apple relies on is LG. Currently the screen in the iPhone 5, the very first screen to embed touch sensors directly into the LCD panel, is manufactured by LG, and although they didn't showcase curved mobiles at the most recent CES, they did unveil a curved 55 inch OLED television. In August of last year, LG confirmed to The Korea Times "it would be able to mass produce flexible OLED displays" from the second-half of 2013.

An Apple branded watch with a curved screen would breathe some 'wow' back into the company's staling product range. Mind you, that's if Samsung doesn't beat them to it with their rumoured Galaxy Altius smartwatch.

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