Is Apple cooking up a curved iPhone or iPad? Earlier today the company was awarded a new patent detailing a “Curved touch sensor” design that could open up the door to exciting new device form factors. The patented technology essentially swaps the flat stack of materials that makes up its current displays with a stack of flexible materials to achieve its curved design.

The patent was actually submitted in 2010, suggesting Apple has been preparing the technology for the past the past few years. With Samsung and LG both unveiling their own curved smartphones earlier this year, Apple may be preparing to strike back with the first curved iPhone, though this seems unlikely given the company’s preference for incremental upgrades to its smartphones line.

It seems more likely Apple will use its curved display design for an entirely new type of product, though what that might be is unclear. The patent describes a number of possibilities including a new type of touch-powered mouse as well as curved touchpads and displays. In the immediate future however, we guess Cupertino may roll out the new technology with its rumored iWatch, which may feature a curved design according to recent leaks.