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Could the future hold a camera-equipped Apple Watch?

Apple’s new patent application suggests that a built-in camera feature might be included in a future version of the Apple Watch. This should make it an even more cutting-edge device.

Apple Watch patent describes a built-in camera

The company is well-known for its forward-thinking products and approach. So its no surprise Apple recently received a patent for a Watch strap release mechanism that could be used with a built-in camera.

Patently Apple discovered the patent, US-11571048-B1, which describes a strap with two segments and a “nest” portion that is designed to allow the user to quickly remove the watch from the strap. This mechanism would support new uses for the Apple Watch, such as taking photos with a camera built into the device’s face.

The patent illustrations show a person taking a picture while wearing the strapless watch, as well as a cross-section of an Apple Watch with a bottom-facing built-in camera and its field of view. To take a picture, the user simply removes the watch and holds up the camera portion to snap a photo.

This actually reminds a bit of the Meta Watch which is supposedly in the works. That one, reportedly, has a similar detachable frame design. It allows the user to remove the main unit while still wearing the frame around their wrist. The goal is to enable users to capture media with the smartwatch’s 2-megapixel underside camera. They could then share the photos and videos with others thanks to rich social media integration. A 5-megapixel camera on the front is also available for video calls.

They are very few some smartwatches currently that come with a built-in camera. And for those that do have them, the quality of the cameras is generally lower than that of smartphones’ cameras. So they may not be suitable for all photography needs.

Not the first such patent

This is not the first time Apple has applied for camera patents for the Apple Watch. Last year, the company received a patent titled “Watch with a Camera,” which described a camera embedded within the digital crown. In addition, the company received a patent in 2019 for a rotatable camera built into the end of a strap. The Wristcam, a third-party Apple Watch accessory, already performs similar functions.

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A camera on the Apple Watch could provide numerous advantages, including quick and easy photography without the need for a separate device. It means users could leave their iPhone at home and still photograph something they see while out and about. The camera would improve the watch’s convenience while also opening up new possibilities for augmented reality. A camera on the watch would also improve the user experience in previously unimaginable ways.

Of course, the recent patent applications do not guarantee the production of an Apple Watch with a camera. If anything, it demonstrates that the company is thinking about it. No doubt, its only a matter of time before it does arrive.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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