Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,965,995) for an “electronic device having display with curved edges” that shows that the tech giant has at least considered making an Apple Watch with a circular design.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that display driver circuitry in displays such as those on its smart watches is used to apply control signals to an array of pixels that generally have rectangular shapes.
However, rectangular pixel arrays won’t 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. Apple says it would be desirable to be able to provide improved displays such as circular displays or other displays with curved edges.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A display may have an array of pixels. The array of pixels may have a shape such as a circular shape or other shape with a curved edge. Display driver circuitry may supply data signals to the pixels using folded vertical data lines and bisected horizontal gate lines. Each folded vertical lines may have a first segment in a left half of the array and a second segment in a right half of the display.
“Curved coupling segments in an inactive area of the display may be used in joining the first and second segments. Display driver circuits may be provided in top and bottom portions of the inactive area to supply data to respective top and bottom portions of the array. Gate driver output buffers may have different strengths in different rows of the array.”
This isn’t the only Apple patent involving an Apple Watch with a new design. Others include 20160351107, 20160351098, and 9,940,866.
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.
Like this article? Consider supporting Apple World Today with a $5 monthly Team AWT membership.