Apple patent hints at an Apple Watch with a circular design

“Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,965,995) for an ‘electronic device having display with curved edges’ that shows that the tech giant has at least considered making an Apple Watch with a circular design,” Dennis Sellers reports for Apple World Today.

“In the patent filing, Apple notes that display driver circuitry in displays such as those on its smart watches is used to apply control signals to an array of pixels that generally have rectangular shapes,” Sellers reports. “However, rectangular pixel arrays won’t 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. Apple says it would be desirable to be able to provide improved displays such as circular displays or other displays with curved edges.”

Apple's U.S. Patent #: US009965995 illustration
Apple’s U.S. Patent #: US009965995 illustration

“Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office,” Sellers notes. “Many are for inventions that never see the light of day.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Nah.

Square displays allow you to do round watch faces, but round watches do not accommodate rectangles or data that’s best presented in rectangles very well.MacDailyNews, March 12, 2018

As if the very first question Apple asked themselves in designing the Apple Watch wasn’t “should it be round or square?” No, Apple just chose square without any consideration at all in a reckless act of industrial design neglect. Because this is how Apple works, they never carefully consider anything during the design of their products. Jony Ive just assigns new category products to the newest intern and that’s how it all gets done at Apple Inc.

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” — Steve Jobs

The majority of consumers today think they want a round-faced smartwatch because the majority of wristwatches through history have been round since basically all they have done/continue to do is to tell time and, ta-da, most clocks are round. Obviously, Apple Watch is much more that just a clock. Consumers thought they needed a beard of plastic keys on their phones and floppy drives in their computers, too. Because that’s all they knew. And then, somehow, they learned to Think Different™.

Just because “this is the way it’s always been done,” doesn’t make continuing to do so valid.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford

And, of course, Apple is renowned for bowing to consumer pressure to rush ill-considered designs to market. Happens all the time. That’s why Apple had large screen iPhones on the market so early instead of at least two years late (they didn’t release larger phones until they could do them right). And why they released that Apple netbook. And why they make $49 feature phones for third world countries in an empty quest for market share, too.

“Android watch makers [still have to] figure out they need to make square displays (lists are square, not round, and lists dominate smartwatch uses)…” — MacDailyNews, August 14, 2015

“Round is wrong.” — MacDailyNews, September 9, 2015

If Apple ever does release a round Apple Watch, it will be because they thought of something new that required it to be round, not because of consumers’ ingrained behaviors, misperceptions, or pressure.MacDailyNews, September 27, 2015

The time is now for a ‘style over substance’ year for Apple Watch – March 12, 2018
Why the next Apple Watch will be round, not square, or something – September 27, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Either it’s simply a coverall for what it says ie ’rounded edges’ without giving the actual design game away but won’t be round, or it would be a simple much cheaper minimalist product designed to appeal to fitness or health freaks for the most part who just want the basic information with no frills, a bit like the iPod nano was. However as MDN noted it’s probably a patent cover for a product that is never likely to surface but was explored.

  2. Finally!

    I do not like square screen watches. MDN has it wrong on this one. And I normally agree with them on many things.

    The round face is just beautiful compared to a square design.

    1. “Square displays allow you to do round watch faces, but round watches do not accommodate rectangles or data that’s best presented in rectangles very well.” MDN is trying create a reality distortion field. I don’t agree. On a round watch face text and stuff will be inside. It’s a matter of design and – this time – size! 🙂
      There are a few nice round examples on the market that look really nice and work well There is even a watch with real hands that move away from the text, really elegantly solved.

  3. There is no reason Apple cant have both..
    Square for thise who prefer it ( me included)
    Round for those who like round.

    It will only expand the customer base.

      1. Well it fits in exactly where the narritive and inventory issues of all the different iphone models fit….

        Apple is not that dictatorial yet… ( yet!)

        They do still offer choices in their lineup. …….

    1. You are totally right. Apple can offer both and expand their customer base. Maybe this is what Apple has been planning from the beginning. Maybe there were some problems with the round concept and the rectangular version was easier to produce first. (After all, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks are all rectangular!) 🙂
      I am sure that if Apple comes out with a round version in addition (not in place of!) the current design, that would only accelerate the watch sales.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.