Last month, news broke of a patent granted to Apple for a system that would allow the Apple Watch to be removed from the strap using a latch or magnet, giving the user access to the camera located on the back of the watch.
The idea sounds interesting, but it’s not as simple and transparent as the Apple Watch’s camera system that the Cupertino giant showed off in a new patent application to theUS Patent and Trademark Office and relayed by AppleInsider titled “Wearable electronic device having a digital camera assembly(portable electronic device with a digital camera).
If the position of the camera in this system can be reminiscent of that of the Wristcam accessory, which replaces the strap of the Apple Watch to place a camera above the face of the watch, Apple wants the Apple Watch’s camera to be sleek rather than bulky. The tech giant even mentioned it in its patent application, writing, “Although some electrical components, such as a camera, may perform desirable functions, the integration of these components may result in a bulky device that may inconvenience the user, be uncomfortable to wear, or not be suitable for the performing certain functions“.
Apple wants the camera provides images using a sensor ranging from 9 to 12 megapixels. At the same time, she wants the camera to be able to take videos with up to 4K resolution at 30-60 frames per second. That’s because Apple has big plans for the camera.
According to the patent application, “the digital photo sensor assembly can be used for a variety of purposes including, by way of non-limiting examples, facial recognition, fingerprint detection, QR (Quick Response) code reading, videoconferencing , biometric monitoring (e.g. heart rate monitoring), photography, video or image capture, or any combination thereof“.
Apple adds:To perform one or more of these functions, the digital photo sensor can be aimed at a subject. The assembly can be connected to internal circuits, such as the timepiece battery“.
The patent was filed last August and attributes the “invention” to five Apple employees. Of course, there is no guarantee that Apple will follow up on this patent application, especially since the ball is now in the court of the USPTO. But it might be a lot easier to unlock your phone or iPad Pro by looking at your Apple Watch camera.