If Apple’s grand vision for the future is users leaving the house without their iPhone and just their Apple Watch in two, there are a few missing features that need to be added.
One of those is a camera, allowing consumers to take pictures on the go and catch up with their friends on FaceTime, but because of the tiny chassis and technology included inside, it’s pretty unlikely that Apple could fit in a camera on top of everything else in the Apple Watch.
There’s also the issue of framing – you can’t point and shoot on an Apple Watch like you can on your iPhone, as the camera would be attached to your wrist.
Whilst Apple is unlikely to add a camera to the Apple Watch any time soon, the company has been granted a new patent which would allow it to include camera functionality in a future Apple Watch if desired.
Apple has proposed that it would integrate the camera into the watch band, rather than the Apple Watch, with a new ‘pull out’ section that could be angled to get the right shot.
The lens of the camera would rotate on the end of the Apple Watch watchband for added flexibility.
The patent also proposed a way to have FaceTime calls with family, with a new malleable metal core, magnetorheological fluid or mechanical links to allow the user to position the camera in the right frame for them to answer a call.
Another option included in the patent is an optical sensor which can be mounted to the watch body, in the style of an old webcam.
In some of the patents, another optical sensor is included on the opposite side of the camera watch band so that users can switch between optical sensors or capture images or video from either side of the camera, or even both at the same time (i.e. front facing, rear facing).
Apple suggested that this sensor could capture images and video when users punch the camera band, give a verbal command, pressing a button on the camera band, or even pressing a button on the case, or the screen of the display.
Whilst this all sounds pretty high-tech, it’s actually an ingenious way for Apple to include new functionality and further enhance the Apple Watch experience – perhaps even allow us to travel without our phones.
What are your thoughts? Could you see technology like this ever become a reality? Or is this just a way for Apple to protect its intellectual property via more patents? Let us know on Twitter using @AppleMagazine, and check back soon for more news as and when we get it.