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Apple iWatch Gets Very Close to Real with New Patent Filing

It looks like we're getting even closer to zero hour for Apple's rumored iWatch. The Cupertino-based company filed a patent for a wearable device that features a flexible touchscreen display, and wraps around a wrist like a "slap bracelet." 

The patent application, discovered by AppleInsider, is for a "bi-stable spring with flexible display," and was filed in August 2011. The spring itself would be made from steel, wrapped in fabric, and heat sealed. The display would run the length of the bracelet on the outside, with the electronics and battery on one end.

According to the filing, the bracelet would overlap, giving the impression that the display runs seamlessly around one's wrist. An "end detection" sensor would be able to accommodate for larger and smaller wrists. Built-in sensors, such as an accelerometer and gyroscope, would keep information pointed at the wearer.

Power for the bracelet would be provided through solar panels and "shake to charge" kinetic energy technology, as well as a physical connector to recharge the device's battery. 

Similar to current smartwatches such as the I'm Watch, the bracelet would connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to a smartphone, and then relay information from that device such as missed calls, email, etc. The patent proposes a further step, in which a user could interact with the phone via the bracelet, such as responding to text messages or changing a playlist. 

While there have been plenty of rumors in the past, this latest patent filing is and perhaps best evidence that Apple is indeed working on a smartwatch of its own. With Samsung also reportedly working on its own smart watch, called the Altius, this definitely looks like the hot new category for next year.