Patent application filed by Apple, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; equivalent of INPI in France, is dated from August 2011 and was published in the official journal of the American institution only this month. It's called "Bi-Stable Spring With Flexible Display" and describes a system for displaying information on a touch screen mounted on a flexible device. The device in question can be worn anywhere, according to what the patent says, as shown in a diagram accompanying the patent application form and shows that it can be worn around the wrist.
The patent does not expressly refer to a SmartWatch as we have heard in the recent rumors but rather describes a device shaped like an electronic bracelet. These bracelets are equipped with springs that would allow them to match the shape of the user's wrist. However, many of the features described in the patent correspond to those that would be found in a SmartWatch.
According to the patent details : "Using a touch screen, the user can perform multiple tasks such as re-order a playlist, re-display the list of recent calls." "Reply to a text message is even possible with a simple virtual keyboard on the screen which would display on the flexible device."
The device could use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to communicate with another mobile device, such as a smartphone for example, to display real-time information on the screen. A gyroscope or accelerometer can also be used to guide the information so that they are facing directly to the user, regardless of how the device is worn.
Many of the past weeks rumors talk about an iWatch that Apple is preparing. The Bloomberg website has even report that Apple has already formed a team of 100 people to work on the device. Others suggest that the watch could use a curved glass screen and can even communicate with a smartphone to display e-mail, instant messages, and other data.
For the moment all these rumors should be taken with the "de rigueure" precaution as Apple has not confirmed anything. At least one certainty is that this patent shows that Apple has a lots of interest for "wearable" electronic device.