Apple is considering several locations for a smartwatch camera, including the crown and bottom. The latter would solve the privacy problem.
A watch with a camera , for which Apple has now received a patent in the USA. The manufacturer can thus protect the concept of a smartwatch that integrates the lens either in the digital crown or in the underside of the watch case. The display of the watch serves as a viewfinder.
The comparatively small size of wearables such as watches makes the integration of additional interfaces a significant challenge, Apple explains in the patent specification. The sensors should therefore play a dual role: when the camera system is integrated into the digital crown on the outside of the watch, the sensor can also be used to record the rotation of the crown so that it can continue to serve as an input device, the engineers write.
Apple Watch camera on the wrist
If the camera and the sensors are embedded in the underside of the watch, they should also enable the well-known functions for measuring body values such as heart rate. As long as the watch is worn on the wrist, it collects health data, in order to take photos, the user has to take it off the wrist. Apple also suggests that the LED sensors, which photometrically record the body data, could then be used in camera mode to illuminate the scene or as a flash.
Integrating the clock into the underside would also reduce the camera size invasive because it has to be removed from the wrist for recordings. However, data protection aspects do not play a central role in the patent, they are only mentioned in passing in the context of the collection and storage of health data.
No selfie camera
A selfie camera that can also be used for video telephony is not mentioned in the patent. Rumors of a camera in the Apple Watch have been around for almost the entire range. Apple has also filed patent applications for other concepts, such as integrating a camera into special wristbands. Patent 11347189 “Watch having a camera” was originally registered by Apple in 2018.