updated 12:21 pm EST, Thu February 21, 2013
Display itself would wrap around wrist
A newly-published Apple patent application may support claims that Apple has been working on a watch. AppleInsider notes that the filing, Bi-stable spring with flexible display, shows a unit with a screen that wraps around a person's wrist. Like other smartwatches, the Apple concept would connect to supporting devices using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and pull data from them in real time.
Instead of using a clasp to secure it, Apple suggests the "bi-stable spring" part of the patent, essentially a slap bracelet. While it can lay flat, the watch would automatically coil up when slapped onto a person's wrist. The core components of the watch -- such as the display, logic board and battery -- would either be glued to the bracelet or mounted directly to it. In the latter case, fabric covering would be needed to make the watch more comfortable.
One notable aspect of the patent is that the proposed display would function as an uninterrupted screen, even though at any given time part of it wouldn't be facing the wearer. To get around this, Apple proposes using gyroscopes and accelerometers to keep images facing the right way. Via touchscreen interactions, a person could control the device the watch is connected to; some given ideas include managing music playlists, sending quick texts using a virtual keyboard, or viewing maps.
To boost battery life Apple hints at possible design choices like an AMOLED screen, solar cells, and/or even a kinetic energy receiver. Apple has yet to use any of those technologies in products so far, but a so-called "iWatch" would also mark Apple's first use of a flexible display.