Now that Tim Cook has effectively paved the way – without saying so – for Apple to create wearable devices in the near or distant future, the appearance of a so-called “curved battery” in the US Patent office isn’t all that much of a surprise. While it’s not a guarantee of any bit or piece of technology using this battery any time soon – Apple often patents technology without using it, ever – it does open some rather interesting miniature doors of possibility.
With the patent – awarded this week, filed this January – Apple describes a system in which “a curve is formed” on a battery on one or two ends of a battery during the manufacturing process. From here, the battery can be used in a variety of ways not currently possible with modern “flat” designs.
NOTE: The concept image above comes from ADR Studio, and is not based on real, working technology today – but it could be some day soon!
Apple’s curved battery will be used “to facilitate efficient use of space”, as they so eloquently put it. This could mean anything, of course, not necessarily just lending steam to the idea that a watch will be using the technology first – or ever. While battery technology has not had a whole heck of a lot of advancement in the recent past, this is one of the few ways in which mobile devices will be able to move forward hardware-wise.
While most battery innovation exists outside of the battery itself – optimizing the device’s mobile processor, for example, Apple’s suggestion is that the construction of the battery and its casing could have an effect on the amount of space it takes up and how it could fit inside a device in a variety of ways.
“The battery cell includes a set of layers including a cathode with an active coating, a separator and an anode with an active coating. The battery cell also includes a pouch enclosing the layers, wherein the pouch is flexible. The layers may be wound to create a jelly roll prior to sealing the layers in the flexible pouch.” – Apple Patent Application
Does this mean we’ll have bendy displays in the iPhone 5S? Probably not. Does it mean Apple will be able to create squishy batteries in the near future? That’s a little bit more likely, but also probably not. As with most Apple patent applications, we’ll just have to wait and see.