Apple Watch Series 4 May Get Always-on Mode

Apple has filed two patents for larger Apple Watch interfaces and anti-burn-in screen technology, which could mean big changes for how you interact with its wearable.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Specifically, according to Patently Apple, the second patent contains "compression techniques for burn-in on OLED displays." The patent outlines a more efficient way to store usage statistics that help a watch know what it needs to do to avoid burn-in. Currently, these take up a considerable amount of storage.

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The Watch then adjusts the brightness and color of particular areas of the screen most at risk of burn-in, referencing these data.

As some Redditors note (spotted by 9to5Mac), this could indicate that the next Apple Watch will have an always-on display. Currently, the Apple Watch's display only lights up when a user lifts up their wrist to glance at the screen. 

The change may not be limited to the Apple Watch, however. The patent notes that the technology could relate to OLED displays in iPhones and iPads as well. Apple is releasing two iPhones with OLED screens this year. 

Since it's still in the patent stage, we can't yet say when this technology might hit the market. While it could show up in the Series 4, or the 2018 iPhones, it could also show up in an Apple Watch far down the line -- or not at all. 

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she wrote about everything from artificial intelligence to social media and the internet of things to. She had a particular focus on smart home, reviewing multiple devices. In her downtime, you can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.