Your next Apple Watch can come in different “CURVES”
Apple is known for its patents, which are detailed but often try to disguise product plans with in-depth technicality. The Apple Watch design patents were published in May 2015. The sales of the Apple Watch have been phenomenon since the introduction. It was estimated that Apple had sold 2.5mil watches until May end.
I was interested to find out what other unique technologies Apple might be working on in their next version of Apple Watch. Many of the Apple patents outline fascinating technologies that the company has been working on, and show the direction its products could take in the future. So I did quick patent search on the USPTO using Petapator with a board starting point: “AN/apple AND watch”. There were over 600 results based on this query. This was not a surprise for me as the term “watch” could be written in many different contexts. Luckily the Petapator Figures Display function allowed me to quickly browse through the search results in order for me to refine my next steps.
Few patents stood out as shown in the picture below. There were few patents focused on the Band of the Apple Watch (D727,197, D727,198 and D727,199). This showed us the innovation that went into conceiving, designing and engineering the watch extends beyond the core to the bands.
With the Word Cloud, it was useful for me to spot any interesting topics. When I browsed through the list, the term “flexible displays” caught my eye. In patent 8,976,141 Apple highlighted a device with “flexible touch-sensitive layers, and flexible display cover layers.” I remembered that I read the rumor on iPhone 7 that it could be a fold-able, flexible device; but why did my “AN/apple AND watch” search return this patent as a search result. I was curious. By simply clicking the PDF button on the search result page, I can read the PDF of the patent directly on my browser.
In the Detailed Description section of patent 8,976,141, it actually stated “An illustrative electronic device of the type that may be provided with a flexible display having bent edges visible along an edge of the device is shown in FIG. 1. Electronic device 10 may be a portable electronic device or other suitable electronic device. For example, electronic device 10 may be a laptop computer, a tablet computer, a somewhat smaller device such as a wrist-watch device, pendant device, or other wearable or miniature device, a cellular telephone, a media player, etc.”
It is often difficult to run patent search with board terms such “watch”. For in-depth search or running professional patent search for your clients, I would recommend that you start the search with an understanding of the CPC or Inventor of your subject. However, as I showed in this blog, it is possible to run a quick patent search to gain insights for your topic if you have a powerful visualization tool.