Apple has today been awarded a patent for technology intended for use in a ‘circular display.’ The patent text specifically references a wristwatch as one application, and one of the illustrations looks very much like a watch. The patent itself is for a particular approach to handling the challenges posed by circular displays.

Pixel arrays often have rectangular shapes. However, rectangular pixel arrays will not fit efficiently within a device having a circular shape. Circular displays can have bottleneck regions in which signal lines become crowded, leading to inefficient use of display area. It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved displays such as circular displays or other displays with curved edges.

You can read the patent for yourself if you’re interested.  We frequently caution that Apple patents all kinds of things that never make it into products. These include product ideas which the company has explored and subsequently rejected, which would be the obvious interpretation here.

However, as Patently Apple notes, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Considering that Apple filed for this patent 8 months after the original Apple Watch debuted with its rectangular interface and likely years after the original Apple Watch patents for a watch, Apple’s management gave their engineers this project to work on. So this isn’t a rejected design after the fact, it’s a purposeful engineered solution to make a round interface work for Apple Watch should Apple ever decide to bring this to market.

None of which means Apple necessarily plans to make one, but it’s certainly interesting to speculate.


This article was cited from 9to5 Mac. Follow this link for the original article.

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