Ever since the first incarnation of the Apple Watch launched back in 2015, the company’s smartwatches have featured a rectangular design.
However this could be set to change in the future according to a patent spotted by Phone Arena.
The patent, lodged in the US and granted earlier this week, shows Apple is working on a circular screen for their devices.
To be exact, the patent is for “Electronic device having display with curved edges”.
The most obvious use of this would be for a future Apple Watch and images submitted to illustrate the patent appear to show that the circular screen was being developed with that in mind.
This would make sense. With the Californian company’s biggest rivals all making smartwatches with circular dials, a move away from the so-far customary angular face would match market trends.
However, Apple could also hoping to use the technology for any number of other smart devices, too.
The patent also mentions that the design could be applicable to a smartphone or tablet, a pendant-style device, or more interestingly “a device embedded in eyeglasses or other equipment worn on a user’s head”.
This seems to hint at Apple’s much-rumoured AR Glasses, which although yet to be formally announced, have been talked about for years now as a potential augmented reality game-changer.
The patent dates from January 2016, shortly after the first Apple Watch was released. This means that, whilst we can’t be sure what Apple’s first device with a circular screen will be, we can be certain that his does not refer to a rejected Apple Watch design and that it was instead a project greenlit afterwards.
In fact, this is the second patent granted to Apple in the last month which refers to a circular screen. At the beginning of April a similar patent was granted which referred in more detail to the circuitry of such a display.
Although, for our money, the Apple Watch remains the best smartwatch available, changing to a circular design could help it steer clear of motivated challengers such as Samsung, for whom the much-hyped Gear S4 smartwatch is expected to be a big step forward.
Similarly, Apple may simply want to offer more choice. The Apple Watch has always been marketed as a stylish accessory, and catering to users who may prefer a traditional circular watch face can only help the Apple Watch’s appeal.
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