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Future Apple Watch May Include Wrist Gestures and a Camera

October 15, 2016

A recent report from Patently Apple shows that Apple has applied for some interesting patents lately. Patents are always good for a peek into what Apple has in mind for its future products, although many if not most of the patented ideas never come to fruition. Still, it’s interesting to ponder the possibilities allowed by Apple’s ideas.

The article explains the drawing in the lead photo I’ve used above:

Apple’s patent FIG. 4 is a simplified block diagram of a wrist-gesture processing system that can be included in a wearable; FIGS. 3A-3F illustrate wrist articulations. Extension (or dorsiflexion) is shown in FIG. 3A; flexion (or palmar flexion) is shown in FIG. 3B; abduction (or radial deviation) is shown in FIG. 3C; adduction (or ulnar deviation) is shown in FIG. 3D; pronation (or inward rotation) is shown in FIG. 3E; and supination (or outward rotation) is shown in FIG. 3F.

Additionally, the article shows us a drawing indicating an Apple Watch camera:

Apple watch patent camera

They offer the following commentary:

Notable is the fact that Apple’s patent FIG .2 noted above shows us that a future Apple Watch will include camera. Apple notes that “Camera #229 can include, e.g., a compact digital camera that includes an image sensor such as a CMOS sensor and optical components (e.g. lenses) arranged to focus an image onto the image sensor, along with control logic operable to use the imaging components to capture and store still and/or video images. Images can be stored, e.g., in storage subsystem #204 and/or transmitted by a wearable device to other devices for storage. Depending on implementation, the optical components can provide fixed focal distance or variable focal distance; in the latter case, autofocus can be provided. In some embodiments, the camera can be disposed along an edge of face memberthe top edge, and oriented to allow a user to capture images of nearby objects in the environment such as a bar code or QR code.”

Frankly, I’m not sure I want either wrist gestures or a camera on my Apple Watch. I can imagine wrist gestures happening accidentally and activating some app I don’t want as I go about my normal activities. Sure, a camera would be marginally useful for scanning QR codes, but I have no desire to take wrist selfies. Plus, once you add a camera to a device, there are security issues that may necessitate removing the Apple Watch in certain situations. If this is where the Apple Watch is heading, I’m not sure I’ll be upgrading anytime soon.

You can read the full Patently Apple article here.