Newly uncovered patents related to battery technology being developed by Apple could open the doors to devices with new form factors, including the much anticipated iWatch smartwatch, as well as slimmer iPhone, iPad, and MacBook notebooks.
Unlike traditional flat or cylindrical batteries, Apple is working on new battery designs that have different shapes, including curved shapes and irregular shapes.
In doing so, this could allow Apple to curve the battery to fit a curved iWatch display, for example. And an irregularly shaped battery could be customized to fit in the space of an iPhone, iPad, or MacBook that’s left vacant from space not utilized by the logic board–or motherboard–in those devices. Apple could tailor-fit its battery more efficiently inside these devices.
According to Apple Insider, the patents, both filed in late 2011, “call for battery cells to be manipulated during the manufacturing phase in order to facilitate easy installation into curved and non-rectangular device designs.”
Fitting a battery more precisely into a device would allow Apple to reduce wasted space and offer longer battery life. While this may not be as important on a phone, the importance of longer times between recharges increased with wearable computing technology, like that of a smartwatch where users may not want to charge every night given that traditional watches don’t need daily recharges.
Breakthrough battery innovations like this could help Apple stay ahead of its rivals in the smartwatch game. Android-based LG, Samsung, and Google are rumored to be exploring the smartwatch concept and even Microsoft is being tipped off to be developing its own smartwatch under the direction of the Xbox team.
This also opens up Apple to new form factors for its iPhone smartphone as well, like the recently leaked wrap-around iPhone display.
In addition to making batteries into different shapes, there have also been recent battery technology innovations that would allow for stretchable batteries as well.