1.3 C

Apple was granted a patent for an Apple Watch camera and detachable band



While gadget patents don’t guarantee anything, they can offer a glimpse into areas a company is exploring. Earlier this week, Apple was granted a patent (US-11571048-B1) for an Apple Watch strap release mechanism that could potentially be used with a built-in camera. That, on its own, is a neat idea, but it’s also the third camera-related Apple Watch patent we’ve seen in recent years. The patent application was originally filed in 2019, so Apple engineers have clearly had wearable cameras on the brain for some time.

First spotted by Patently Apple, the patent’s abstract and description section detail a strap with two segments and a “nest” portion. The concept was to create a quick and ergonomic way to pop the watch out of the strap.

That, in turn, could open up new ways to use the Apple Watch that aren’t limited to the wrist — like, as stated in the claims section, taking pictures with a built-in camera. Figure 3 in the patent illustrates a person holding a strapless watch to take a picture. Figure 4 then shows a cross section of an Apple Watch with a bottom-facing built-in camera and its field of view. So, you’d essentially pop out the watch, hold up the camera portion, and snap a picture.

As Patently Apple notes, this isn’t even the first time Apple’s filed camera-related patents for the Apple Watch. Apple was granted another patent last year simply titled “Watch having a camera.” It described a scenario where a camera was placed within the digital crown, and one of the diagrams is basically identical to figure 3 above. In 2019, Apple won a patent for a rotatable camera built into the end of a strap. Notably, there’s already a third-party Apple Watch accessory called the Wristcam that functions similarly.

Clearly, this was a concept that someone at Apple put a lot of thought into. And there are legitimate reasons why a customer might want a smartwatch camera. One of the big draws of the Apple Watch is that it enables iPhone users to spend less time on their phones — and potentially even leave it behind when running errands, going for a walk, or exercising. But who hasn’t been out and about and seen something they wanted to take a pic of to send to friends and family? Without your phone, you’d have no evidence. And, as they say, pics or it didn’t happen.

This patent diagram shows the rotatable camera (220, 221) built into an Apple Watch strap.
Image: USPTO

The more dicey use case would be to discreetly snap a picture or film a recording. That — plus technological restrictions like size and battery — may be why we haven’t seen many companies explore this idea further. As demonstrated by the original Google Glass, the idea that someone may be secretly recording you leaves many uncomfortable. (Though, Meta was rumored to be working on a smartwatch with not one but two cameras before purportedly scrapping the idea.)

In any case, it bears repeating that patents aren’t a guarantee of anything. Big Tech often proactively files patents for ideas just in case. It could very well be that Apple thought long and hard about cameras and decided against it, or there’s a chance that a future Apple Watch might have a built-in camera. Either way, it’s worth noting that wearable cameras are something tech companies are thinking about — and what that might mean for smartwatches in the future.

Source link

Subscribe to our magazine

━ more like this

Cornerstone Removals: UK’s Most Reliable and Flexible House Moves

Moving home can be a stressful and challenging experience, but with Cornerstone Removals, you can rest assured that your move will be smooth and...

Millions of Americans don’t have the luxury of moving on from the pandemic. We shouldn’t leave them behind  

When the pandemic broke out nearly three years ago, older Americans were vulnerable.  They still are today.  Since 2020, people 65 and over have comprised...

Apple’s once again trying to optimize the iPhone’s Crash Detection feature

Apple has released iOS 16.3.1, which includes “optimizations” for the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro’s Crash Detection feature that’s been criticized by some...

Opinion | Iranian Nationalists Reject the Regime

It‘s no longer true that a Western military strike would lend the theocracy stronger domestic support. Source link

Alternative hip-hop pioneer Trugoy the Dove of De La Soul dies at 54

David Jude Jolicoeur, known widely as Trugoy the Dove and one of the founding members of the Long Island hip hop trio De...