Apple granted patent for technology designed for ‘circular display’ 

Will Apple’s next Watch have a round face? Patent reveals technology designed for ‘circular display’

  • Apple has been awarded a patent for technology for use in a ‘circular display’
  • Patent originally filed in January 2016, eight months after the Watch came out
  • It shows adding an array pixel rows and columns underneath the display
  • Does not necessarily mean that Apple will release a circular Apple Watch 
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Tech giant Apple has been awarded a patent for technology intended for use in a ‘circular display’, prompting speculation the company may be developing a circular Apple Watch.

Originally filed in January 2016, the document describes using an array of pixel in rows and columns of varying lengths that create an active area over the entire face – leaving no space unused. 

In a world of circular watches, Apple surprised many by opting for a rather chunky rectangle for its first offering.


Apple has been awarded a patent or technology for use in a ‘circular display’. The document describes using an array of pixel in rows and columns of varying lengths that create an active area over the entire face – leaving no space unused

When the smartwatch was first announced, reports surfaced about what the wearable might look like and many of the ideas pointed to a boxy frame. 

The patent itself is for technology developed to combat the challenges that come with a circular frame and smart technology.

‘Pixel arrays often have rectangular shapes. However, rectangular pixel arrays will not fit efficiently within a device having a circular shape. 

Circular displays can have bottleneck regions in which signal lines become crowded, leading to inefficient use of display area. 

It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved displays such as circular displays or other displays with curved edges,’ the patent reads.

The solution to this problem that is currently used in the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch – arranging an array of pixels in columns and rows.

However, since the display would be a circular shape, these rows and columns have different lengths.

Unlike most displays, Apple also suggests folding data lines back on themselves, which will force them to pass through two or more pixel columns – they may also overlap. 


The patent itself is for technology developed to combat the challenges that come with a circular frame and smart technology. Pictured is an artist rendition of the Apple smartwatch

HOW DO APPLE PRODUCT LEAKS GET OUT?

According to the briefing obtained by The Outline, employees at the firm’s factories in China are offered ‘top dollar’ by black market sellers to smuggle out products.

In some cases, employees have even been offered the equivalent of three months to a year’s worth of salary.

Employees turn to all sorts of tactics to smuggle products from the factories, the report explains.

This includes stashing parts in bathrooms, flushing them down the toilet to later retrieve from the sewer, throwing them over fences, and clenching them between toes.

In one case, 8,000 enclosures were stolen by women putting it in the underwire of their bra, according to the report.

Apple employees are forbidden from discussing unreleased products or services with anyone who hasn’t been ‘disclosed’ – but, the risk of passively mentioning details of a product still remains.

And, even bigger mistakes have been known to happen.

In 2010, a prototype iPhone 4 was even left in a bar by an Apple employee, and later obtained by Gizmodo. 

This strategy would not only save space and reduce crowding inside of the watch, but it would also set the pixels in the active area. 

Called ‘Electronic device having display with curved edges’, it was filed just eight months after the release of the first generation of Apple Watches. 

However, it is important to note that Apple frequently files patents that never become fully developed products. 

It is possible the company filed for the patent in order to make it harder for other companies to compete, or it could be planned for use in a future iPhone or iPad.

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