Samsung may have beaten Apple to market with its smartwatch, but the iPhone maker could be the first to offer a flexible display on its wearable device. Korean media outlet Chosun Ilbo reports that Apple is testing bendable displays in three different sizes for its long-rumored iWatch.
The Korean publication reports that Apple’s alleged smartwatch will feature a plastic OLED screen capable of being bent. Citing unnamed industry sources, the website says that Apple is developing three different iWatch models with screen sizes measuring 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 inches. Apple is rumored to already have developed a prototype for the 1.5-inch version, although this has yet to be confirmed.
Chosun Ilbo doesn’t name its sources, but Apple does have a patent for a flexible touchscreen device that wraps around one’s wrist similar to a “slap bracelet.” At the same time, another Apple patent details a mobile device with a display capable of extending around the entire body. While this doesn’t guarantee that either of these concepts will come to market, it does build evidence that Apple is experimenting with flexible display technology.
If Apple does decide to launch the fabled iWatch, it would be among several major tech companies to delve into the wearable market. Samsung just unveiled its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which syncs with your Galaxy Note 3 or Note 10.1 (2014) to deliver notifications, answer phone calls, run apps and more. Google and Microsoft are both rumored to be working on smartwatches of their own, and both companies hold patents relating to wrist-worn technology.
Previous rumors have suggested that the iWatch will feature a curved OLED display and offer between four and five days of battery life, which would make it slimmer and longer-lasting than Samsung’s Galaxy Gear. Earlier this year Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that wearable tech is an area of “profound interest” and that for a device to succeed you must “convince people it’s so incredible you want to wear it.” We’re waiting to see if Apple’s purported device lives up to this claim.