back to article Apple files 'iWatch' patent application

The US Patent and Trademark Office has published a patent application that juices rumors Apple is working on a bit of wrist-wearable kit that hardware hypothesizers have dubbed the "iWatch". "Bi-stable Spring with Flexible Display" was revealed in the USPTO's weekly Thursday-morning application dump, and describes a snap-on …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The application, however, makes no mention of the device as being a timepiece – it is described, more generally, as a "wearable video device arranged to be worn by an end-user" on said user's wrist"

    Of course it doesn't specifically mention it being a watch. That wouldn't be anywhere near generic enough for an Apple patent.

    1. Andrew Moore

      I think that would get them solidly into "prior art" territory

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just waiting for whoever invented snap bands to sue Apple.....

  3. NoneSuch Silver badge

    I am concerned for the person wearing it when it catches fire. All Apple products do eventually.

    1. Chad H.


      Did that mean Apple bought Boeng?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So

        .. or were involved in taking Dell private ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Batteries fail, they're not made by Apple and are often made by Sony and others.

      Look at the Boeing Dreamliner battery fire, is that Apple's fault too?

      The batteries are very high capacity in modern devices and unstable when they get hot. Any small package with loads of energy in it is a potential explosive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If they are unstable when they get hot that means Apple are expected to make sure they are sufficiently cooled. Sony may supply them but batteries don't often come with cooling built in. What you are saying is that Apple don't cool components enough for them to mitigate a "known" safety hazard.

        Also, comparing something in no way related to Apple (Boeing Dreamliner) to something directly connected to Apple (they put the batteries in their products) is a sorry excuse for an argument. If you have a point to make then make it. Try to avoid hyperbole.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I assume if its kinetic/solar powered, the display is going to be fairly basic?

    1. Silverburn

      given the energy requirements of the display and processor, the kenetic thingy will need to be moving constantly and vigorously.

      A related thought do you view pR0n on this when it's....errrr...."moving" all the time...?

      1. Fiddler on the roof

        Simples you wear it on the other wrist ;)

  5. VinceH
    Paris Hilton


    ' Another nice touch is that the device is described as being self-powered by "a kinetic energy gathering component, wherein the battery can be trickle charged" '

    Perfect for the typical Applyte, then.

    Paris, because she can inspire more kinetic energy out of them.

  6. Tom 35

    This is worth a patent?

    It reminds me of the Popular Science/Mecanics stories (from the 1950s - now) about the flying cars that are about to go on sale, or even the Star Trek technical manual.

    Just a bunch of general discriptions with no details at all.

    It's like someone said, "I just read about new flexable displays shown at CES, come up with something we could build with one... you've got 10 minutes".

    Guess they didn't hear about the flexable batteries...

    1. Mark .

      Re: This is worth a patent?

      My thoughts too - don't you have to make something to patent it?

      I also wasn't aware Apple were into manufacturing displays, let alone flexible one. If computerised watches finally take off (something often predicted in visions of the future, when instead mobile computing converged onto phones) due to flexible displays, it'll be thanks to technology made by the likes of Samsung, judging by their recent announcements and demos.

      1. Craigness

        Re: This is worth a patent?

        The tech will be made by samsung et al. But the patent courts will hand the market to apple.

      2. Loyal Commenter

        Re: This is worth a patent?

        "My thoughts too - don't you have to make something to patent it?"

        If I understand it correcty, this is a US 'design patent', what the rest of the world would call a copyright. Our transatlantic cousins just like to use grandiose* words for things. And use the letter 'z' too much.

        *or as they might spell it, grandioze?

        1. Vic

          Re: This is worth a patent?

          > a US 'design patent', what the rest of the world would call a copyright.

          Not so.

          In the UK[1], this would be a "registered design". Copyright is something else entirely.


          [1] Most of Europe has very similar legislation, with slightly different names...

    2. Crisp

      Re: This is worth a patent?


      It's just a flexible display glued to a bistable spring. It's hardly innovative. It's almost the definition of "obvious".

  7. Magani

    iWatch on an appendage?

    Wink wink, nudge nudge...

    Shirley this is the ultimate tool for the fanboi voyeur?

    Mine's the one with the pocket edition of the Karma Sutra...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iWatch on an appendage?

      Of course - that kinetic energy has to come from somewhere. I suspect that's why those shake-to-charge torches were mainly bought by men too..

      1. MrT

        Heard in Birmingham...

        ..."Have you got the time on you, cock?"

        With thanks to Jasper Carrott et al...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iWatch on an appendage?

      I assume that it will be banned from the app store!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm guessing it won't be long now before Apple tries and patents the concept of time like the greedy fucks they are?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you have a serious point, then make it.

      If it was a joke, then it one that we have all read a hundred times before.

      1. Loyal Commenter

        @AC number two

        There is an old adage that says, "many a true word has been spoken in jest."*

        I'm sure that if Apple didn't have a history of trying to patent the obvious, or indeed things which are prior art, then they wouldn't come in for so much flak.

        *Very old; for example in the 14th century, Chaucer wrote: "But yet I pray thee be not wroth for game; A man may say full sooth in game and play."

  9. tonysmith

    Didn't Nokia have a video of something like this

    a few years ago nokia did a watch phone concept thing like this didn't they?

    1. Simbu

      Re: Didn't Nokia have a video of something like this

      Yea, Nokia Morph:

      Same shit, different form factor.

      1. url
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Didn't Nokia have a video of something like this

        yeah - they've been yammering on about this since around 2006 i think:

        Here's hoping its a huge success and Nokia get proper payments from Apple

        (as opposed to the usual litigation garbage)

        Paris: I bet she has great wrist action.

      2. Stacy

        Re: Didn't Nokia have a video of something like this

        Oh dear... Is that not prior art? Flexible display that can be worn as a watch?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Didn't Nokia have a video of something like this

          "Oh dear... Is that not prior art? Flexible display that can be worn as a watch?"

          Not stop Apple from copying then the fannybois on here proclaiming Apple are the most innovative company ever known to man.

          Flame away ladies. I know you love a whinge.

        2. jai

          Re: Didn't Nokia have a video of something like this

          Is that not prior art?

          it seems like nearly every patent application that gets reported here gets a comment about there being prior art.

          and yet still the patents continue

          seems to me that the US Patents Office dont really care about prior art. is it really an important part of patents, or is it just a urban legend that prior art is a consideration?

          1. Loyal Commenter

            Re: Didn't Nokia have a video of something like this

            I beleive the system in the US grants patents without considering prior art, but they can later be invalidated if prior art is shown. IMHO, this is the wrong way round, the thinking behind it is that it reduces the cost for the patent office, whose job it would be to check for prior art, thus allowing patents to be applied for and granted more cheaply and theoretically give the US a competitive edge.

  10. Mark .

    "so the flexible display as described in the application is described as being able to adjust the amount of information that it presents to the user based on how much of the display is viewable when worn."

    In other words, bog standard UI window-resizing behaviour.

    I look forward to a whole load of new patents where existing technology/ideas are taken, with "on a wrist" added. If you don't even have to make it, perhaps we should all get in on the action.

    Of course watches that can communicate with Android devices already exist. And yes, didn't Apple already try to make a watch-ipod, which turned out to be a fail?

    (Also wondering where they'll put the big light up Apple logo - can't have an Apple product without plastering Apple logos to advertise all over it.)

    1. jubtastic1

      Bog standard

      Yes, its exactly like when you connect an external display to your laptop then obscure part of that display with the laptop screen and the computer automatically adjusts the UI to take into account the bit of monitor that can't be seen.

      All they've really done is think up a clever idea for multiple screen management that hasn't been done before and applied it to a single screen that can obscure itself by virtue of the boring fact that it can wrap around objects.

  11. OrsonX

    Scotch Mist

    Does Apple have a patent on it? I'm sure th USPO would happily grant it.

  12. btrower

    Punish them.

    This type of stuff would be laughable if juries were not awarding outlandish sums for infringing fake inventions.

    As long as we reward companies like Apple for anything that sticks and fail to punish them for throwing stuff at the wall, they will continue to throw stuff at the wall and you, your friends and family will pay the price for it.

    Given the severity of things like the actions of Monsanto, I personally feel no qualms about passing retroactive legislation to mightily punish players attempting to game the system.

    In an age when we can literally print out new devices and can create a copy of any media in existence for any person that wants it at effectively zero cost, there is no place for rent-seekers. They do not create wealth. They destroy it.

  13. JaitcH

    And is it waterproof?

    Many people, when washing their hands, include, in the process, their wrists. This means the proposed device should be waterproof. Then there is the concern caused by deluges of water be it bog standard UK rain shower or tropical downpours.

    And Apple has taken the opportunity to include a power connector with a different form factor. Another $40 attachment?

    And what of burning batteries? Perhaps they could put a logo on the case adjacent to the battery so overheating batteries will brand the sign of the Devil (Jobs) on a users wrist as it fails.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And is it waterproof?

      Yawn for *burning* batteries, but power is indeed going to be an issue. I have seen speculation that this would be some sort of iphone-on-your-wrist, but with the speed a normal iPhone chews through a battery I can't see this watch being of any use as it certainly will hold a lot less power.

      In addition, if my experience with those LED torches is any indication, kinetic power is going to be a drop in the ocean..

    2. Waspy
      Thumb Down

      Re: And is it waterproof?

      Erm...I manage just fine with my 1971 Omega Seamaster, which ironically enough shouldn't be put anywhere near water.

      I'm more worried about how much of a dick I'll look with a bendy iPod on my wrist

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real reason why Apple won't call it a watch; they would be sued. How many issues has Apple had with alarms on the iPhone? It is about every other major release.

  15. Camilla Smythe

    The Daily Patent File

    According to the current invention all known things, inclusive or exclusive, are used in various combinations and permutations in order to do something or nothing.

    Inventor: Apple 22/02/12

    According to the current invention all known things, inclusive or exclusive, are used in various combinations and permutations in order to do something or nothing.

    Inventor: Apple 23/02/12




  16. Anonymous Coward

    A wrist band video thing?

    Oh good - I can watch a postage stamp sized movie on my wrist thing, while vigorously jerking my hand, keeping the battery thing charged.....

    The implications could be quite interesting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Would require synchronised head & hand movement. Enter kinetic charging headband accessory.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I found an online image of Eadon!!!


  18. Shannon Jacobs

    It's in the timing

    So far everything I've heard about this device matches something I described more than 25 years ago, but it was basically science fiction back then. I wonder if it will have a variable-power transmitter so that the local bandwidth can remain roughly constant as the density of neighboring devices increases?

    Now what about the spoke-magnet-generator bicycle and the solar-powered relay sticks? Then we get to the really implausible parts of no-centralized control but identity-based reputation attested to by neighboring devices...

    Sometimes I feel like my personal synchronization is off. Way off.

  19. Ralph B

    Told you so

    I did, I told you so.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    On a more serious note

    Kinetic power could easily lead to over charging; after all fanbois perform a lot of vigorous up and down actions with their (curled) hands.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Believe it when I see it!

    Nokia have been touting similar devices for a while now.

  22. ukgnome

    Hmm - who owns the patent on flexi-screens?

    Oh yeah, Samsung

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Hmm - who owns the patent on flexi-screens?

      Does the Sammy patent say " on a mobile computing device"?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kinetically charged, wrist mounted porn viewing device

    That has got to be the closest thing to perpetual motion/energy yet - if they can use some of the charge to 'provide electrical stimulation' then the cycle will be complete.

  24. Jon Double Nice

    Their diagram reminded me of this:

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so the patent office.. just a form of PR for companies now? Get them to issue patents at a given time to keep them in the public eye?

  26. John 62

    I think people are giving the iWatch too much hype. The concept is merely for an iPhone/Pad companion device. You'll be able to show pretty pictures (accessorize!), get updates (walking directions/bus times/passbook/texts/caller id/etc) and control the music player. It could potentially also be used for games, but this is a companion device that could prove to be useful, like an Apple TV, not a core product.

  27. Anonymous Coward


    Round squares move to the next level.

  28. Lallabalalla

    Whatever the hell it is

    iWant one.

  29. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    A snap on device???

    Careful calling it a Snap On device, I think that may be already trademarked and be somebody elses IP.

    Not that ever worried the fruity ones.

  30. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Well, it certainly a development ..

    .. we'll have to watch.

    What? What did I say?


  31. hi_robb


    It's about iTime...

    /Gets coat

  32. tnatsnud

    I wonder if the braintrust at Apple ever read the comics? Dick Tracy had a wrist radio ande later a wrist video to communicate with headquarters - this was back in the early 60's. Seems like prior art to me ...

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