Co.Design

A Peek At Apple’s Patent For A Slap Bracelet iWatch

Apple’s latest patent application portends a flexible, slap-bracelet future.

Apple’s iWatch continues to be the most loosely guarded secret in the history of the company. Today, AppleInsider spotted a patent application for what is almost surely the company’s rumored watch, a touchscreen OLED band with "bi-stable springs." As Apple’s own application explains, it’s just like those slap bracelets we all wore in the '80s:

The most recent widespread use of such a device was the slap bracelet, also called the slap wrap. The slap bracelet consists of layered flexible steel bands sealed within a fabric cover. Typical slap bracelets are roughly one inch in width by nine inches in length. In a first equilibrium position they can be flat. The second equilibrium is typically reached by slapping the flat embodiment across the wrist, at which point the bracelet curls around the wrist and stays relatively secure in a roughly circular position. The slap bracelet has been used primarily as a decorative bracelet; however, other uses have included for example keeping a pant leg away from a bike chain, or even using a slap bracelet covered with reflective tape for providing increased visibility for pedestrians and bikers at night. Perhaps most usefully it is quite easy to wrap around a wrist or leg, and stays conveniently in place.

It’s interesting to read, in Apple’s own patent application, its exploration of this idea of flexible, curved electronics. You can almost begin to imagine the commercial—bracelets slapping on arms, bracelets slapping on bike handles, bracelets slapping on coffee mugs—as our portable technologies are finally designed around the shape of ourselves. But what a challenge. One single design detail that’s so easy to take for granted is that, when the bracelet is slapped on, the display connects seamlessly. It’s just a small taste of the whole new wave of UX issues that designers will be solving over the next five to 10 years.

See the application here.

[Hat tip: AppleInsider]

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