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Apple patent filings offer hints of what the iWatch might look like
Rumors of Apple working on an iWatch set for release later this year have intensified of late. While the very notion of wearable technology may seem futuristic, the evidence that Apple has something secretive and potentially brilliant brewing behind its secretive walls in Cupertino is strong. Reports say that Apple has more than 100 employees working on the project.
Jony on the spot
The man rumored to be leading Apple's iWatch project, Jony Ive, is a watch connoisseur who in the early-2000s visited Nike factories to observe their watch manufacturing methods. Ive, currently senior vice president of industrial design at Apple, ordered boxes of sports watches from Nike for his team to inspect.
The Nike connection
Nike Creative Director Scott Wilson told Business Insider that Nike at one point sent Ivy "a ton of Nike Presto Digital Bracelets and the aluminum Oregon Series Alti-Compass watches." Also, Apple CEO Tim Cook sits on the Nike board.
What will the iWatch look like?
Apple has a number of patents relating to wearable technology, but one of their more notable patents on the matter (US Patent 20130044215) was filed in August 2011. The patent describes a device with a flexible display and bi-stable springs, allowing for two equilibrium positions. In other words, the device is akin to a slap bracelet that has the ability to be perfectly straight and to also snugly wrap around a user's wrist.
Screen size is key
The focal point of the iWatch would be a large and dynamic screen. One inherent problem is that people have wrists of varying sizes. Apple's patent describes a clever solution wherein sensors on the watch would detect unused portions of the display and deactivate them accordingly. Here's what a side view of the device would look like.
Wider is better
And as for the device's dimensions, Apple's patent indicates that the wider the display the better: "As the accessory device widens, its potential for functionality also increases. At a width of a few inches the display can function to temporarily view and manipulate the screen of the portable electronic device it is in communication with. A larger display is also more desirable for map viewing. A wider overall device width also allows for a larger flexible electronic module. This allows more space for a larger battery, and additional sensors...’’
In this view from the bottom, there’s a "kinetic energy gathering device’’ (502). Apple says that "the simple motion of a user's arm or leg allows the accessory device to harness some of that energy for charging battery (504.)’’ There’s also Wi-Fi/Bluetooth antenna (506) and a connector (508).