Apple iWatch patent further fuels rumours that a device is in the works

Apple has been granted a patent for a "wearable accessory device", a piece of information that just happens to fit in nicely with rumours that the Cupertino-based company is working on an iWatch.

While the patent filing and diagrams don't confirm that the company is about to launch any such device in the near future, it does mean at some point someone at Apple has thought about the idea. Enough even to put some sketches on a pieces of paper and make them official with the US Patent Office.

Apple first filed its application for a "Bi-stable spring with flexible display" with the US Patent and Trademark Office in August 2011, describing a wearable accessory device that can be easily worn on a user's wrist or other body part, according to AppleInsider which discovered the patent application.

"When active, the unit connects to a portable device via various communications protocols like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to show relevant information in real time on a flexible display that can wrap fully around a user's wrist. While the device itself can conform to nearly any appendage, a suitable location would be a user's wrist," reports the site.

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Unlike a traditional watch, the suggestion here is that the accessory would hold on your arm using a bi-stable spring similar to slap bracelets.

The bracelet itself would feature a flexible display and a touchscreen interface allowing users to adjust playlists or review a list of recent phone calls.

"With a touchscreen user input a user can accomplish a number of different tasks including adjusting the order of a current playlist, and reviewing a list of recent phone calls. A response to a current text message can even be managed given a simple virtual keyboard configuration across the face of the flexible display," details the approved patent application. 

Rumours have started in earnest over if, how, or when Apple would launch an accessory for the iPhone and iPad. Apple of course hasn't confirmed or denied any of it, but with appetite warming towards smart watches, it could be a lucrative product for Apple and the millions of eligible iPhone and iPad users who could benefit from such a device.  

The filing credits Fletcher R. Rothkopf, Derek W. Wright and Scott A. Myers as its inventors.