Apple still plans to release an Apple Watch camera system and it could be integrated

News Summary:

  • It adds to a string of camera-related filings the Cupertino giant has received from the USPTO over the past five years, with the most recent significant patent discovered in 2019.

  • The Apple Watch’s integrated camera system has received yet another patent from the company.

In contrast to that one, which concentrated on an Apple Watch band with a camera inside, this most recent filing envisions a camera integrated into the Apple Watch case.

The Apple Watch screen would serve as the camera’s viewfinder, as depicted in the patent sketches, and the Digital Crown would probably serve as the shutter. The case could then be put straight back into the strap when you were finished taking pictures, which is probably much easier than the current band mechanism allows.

This one still has a different kind of watch band, but it now makes it possible for the Apple Watch to simply detach and be used as a tiny point-and-shoot.

The concept somewhat reminds us of the recently unveiled Huawei Watch Cyber, one of the first applications of detachable bezel shells we’ve seen in the real world. Though the detachable features of that smartwatch were primarily for aesthetic reasons, in this case, the Apple Watch would prove to be much more useful.

However, as with other Apple Watch camera patents, we’re not entirely sold on the idea itself.

We simply aren’t sure the feature would be used much unless you were without your phone during exercise or your phone battery happened to be dead.

Additionally, image quality clearly lags behind what a phone can provide, as we discovered with devices like the third-party, $299 Apple Watch WristCam. However, it is likely that in the future, smartwatches like the Apple Watch will include a camera. Relative to other systems, the one described in this most recent patent is one of the more likely. The 2014 Samsung Gear S2 Neo’s built-in camera makes this scenario much more likely than it did the last time.