Even a gadget addict like me can’t see much of a point in curved-screen smartphones, but that’s not stopping companies from exploring the technology.

Apple has just scored U.S. Patent No. 8,603,574, which covers a “curved touch sensor,” reports AppleInsider. We’ve recently heard that Apple may be experimenting with curved screen iPhones, so this latest patent makes plenty of sense.

It describes a new way of building a touch panel that could eventually be used in future iPhones, iPads, touch mice, and other gadgets. According to the patent, one technique involves laying a touch panel over a flexible substrate while it’s flat, which is then joined together with a second, curved flexible substrate.

While the technique may be unique to Apple, both LG and Samsung have already released curved screen smartphones of their own. And, no, there’s still no clear reason why you’d want a curved smartphone.

Apple’s patent also shows a way that it can use a flat touch panel right under a curved glass display (which may be cheaper to produce, but likely won’t make for accurate touch interaction).

Perhaps more intriguing than a curved iPhone, the curved touch panel technology could be used in something like Apple’s rumored iWatch, which could one-up the smartwatch competition by using a curved glass display to better fit your wrist.

Apple curved touch panel patent

AI. Messaging. Bots. Arm yourself for the next paradigm shift at MobileBeat 2016. July 12-13 at The Village in San Francisco. Reserve your place here.

Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the i... All Apple news »

Track Apple's Landscape to stay on top of the industry. Access the entire ecosystem, track innovation & deals. Learn more.