The iWatch 2 Low Down
Despite whispers that Apple may unveil a smartwatch sequel at its recent WWDC event in San Francisco, the only concrete wearable news from the conference was the unveiling of watchOS 3 – the updated smartwatch platform that will hit devices in the fall.
However, that hasn’t stopped the Apple Watch 2 rumour mill from spinning, with fuel being added to the fire by way of some interesting new patents that have turned up.
In particular, a patent that details the potential use of camera(s) in future Apple Watch models. “The camera can be disposed on the front surface of Apple Watch face to capture images of the user,” reads the patent uncovered by Patently Apple.
“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.”
We’ve seen cameras on smartwatches before, of course – Samsung has included them on its Gear range – but the original Apple Watch lacked the lenses required to take snaps or do FaceTime video calling.
Back in June, reports suggested that Apple was planning on adding a FaceTime camera to the Apple Watch 2, along with new tether-less functionality. Those murmurs claimed a HD camera would be added to the bezel on the front of the device, allowing Watch wearers to video conference with one another.
This patent backs up that suggestion, while at the same time detailing potential improvements to the Digital Crown controller.
For future Watch models patents suggest that the Crown could be touch-sensitive using capacitive touch technologies that can received pressurized inputs, while at the same time move in one or more directions to offer multiple gesture-based control methods.
The patent also reveals that two more buttons, also with capacitive skills, could hit the left hand side of the bezel.
A more useful feature being touted for the Apple Watch sequel, not detailed anywhere in these newly uncovered patents, is extra tether-less functionality.
It’s rumored that features such as emails, texts, and app updates could be hitting the Apple Watch 2 without the need of an iPhone to transmit the data. This, apparently, is the result of a new Wi-Fi enabled chipset, which will also power a ‘find my watch’ feature.