Those who are hoping that the Apple Watch will one day incorporate a built-in camera, will have been given reason for encouragement by one patent recently granted to Apple.
The patent in question, granted earlier this month, describes a smartwatch that has a camera on the bottom surface. In theory, this might sound like the worst possible place to have a camera on a smartwatch, given that it would be pointed directly at the user’s wrist.
However, the patent describes a system that would make such a camera usable in certain situations. The key is in the wristband, which would have two segments, with the top – incorporating the watch itself – able to be easily detached from the bottom.
The idea, it seems, is that someone with an Apple Watch who wished to use it to take a photo would simply need to detach it from their wrist, point it at whatever they like, and take the photo, before clipping the watch back into the wristband.
It seems like a solution that the typical user wouldn’t bother using if they already had their phone with them, given how much quicker and easier to use their phone would presumably be. However, such a feature could be useful in the rare situations when the user isn’t carrying their phone on them.
This latest patent isn’t actually the first one granted to Apple that describes a smartwatch with a built-in camera. A patent was filed in 2019, and granted in 2022, that shows the camera in a more conventional place, inside the crown of the watch. But with both this and the more recent patent having been filed in 2019, it seems plausible that by now, Apple could have entirely given up on the idea.
However, it’s worth considering that the concept of a smartwatch with a camera is still relatively new and has not yet been widely adopted by consumers. As technology continues to advance and new advancements are made in this space, it’s not entirely out of the question that Apple could revisit the idea of a camera-equipped Apple Watch.
Additionally, while taking photos with a phone may be more practical in most scenarios, there are certain situations where it might be cumbersome or even impossible to use a phone for photography. For example, if you’re participating in a physically demanding activity like hiking or rock climbing, it may be much more convenient to simply be able to snap a photo with your wrist-worn device.
Furthermore, the camera placement described in the recent patent could have some advantages over a conventional placement inside the watch’s crown. Since the camera would be situated on the bottom surface of the watch, it would be less likely to get damaged or obstructed by clothing or other objects. It’s also possible that Apple could develop a system that would allow for adjustable camera angles, allowing users to position the camera in a way that best suits their needs.
Of course, there’s no way to know for sure if Apple will ever actually bring a camera-equipped Apple Watch to market. But the company’s continued investment in this area, as evidenced by the recent patent, suggests that it’s still exploring the possibilities. So for those still holding out hope for a camera-equipped Apple Watch, there’s reason to remain optimistic.
According to the technology website Patently Apple, which closely follows the patents granted to Apple, a total of 39 new patents were granted to the tech giant the week before last. One of these patents was for advanced haptic technology, which could potentially replace physical buttons on Apple devices in the future.