Apple Has Explored Adding Positionable Cameras to Apple Watch Bands

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has explored the idea of adding a camera to the Apple Watch, although not in the way one might expect.

    MacRumors mockup of Apple Watch with camera band

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today granted Apple a patent that describes an Apple Watch band with a camera or optical sensor affixed to the end of it. This would enable the Apple Watch to capture photos and video, with the Apple Watch's display serving as the viewfinder.

    The band would be made with flexible materials, like many current bands, allowing the user to bend or twist it to aim the camera. Apple's patent includes various illustrations of how the band and camera could be positioned, including one where the camera hovers just above the Apple Watch's display.


    A camera on the Apple Watch could enable basic photo capturing and FaceTime calls on the wrist. The patent also describes the possibility of multiple optical sensors, suggesting that a future Apple Watch band could have both front and rear cameras, allowing users to switch between views like on the iPhone.

    Apple filed the patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on September 16, 2016, a week after it unveiled Apple Watch Series 2 models. While both Series 3 and Series 4 models have launched without camera bands since then, Apple could certainly move forward with the idea in future models.

    Apple files numerous patent applications every week, however, and many of the inventions do not see the light of day. Patents are also very detailed, encompassing many possible ideas, even ones that Apple might not have any plans to advance. So, the exact implementation if any remains to be seen.

    Over the years, rumors have come and gone about the Apple Watch gaining a front-facing camera in the bezel above its display, but this has never come to fruition, perhaps because of the limited internal space available inside the device. A camera watch band is just one potential solution to that problem.

    Article Link: Apple Has Explored Adding Positionable Cameras to Apple Watch Bands
  2. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2012
    London, UK
    Imagine how at concerts, people can still keep their hands in the air and film the stage instead of holding up massive iPad Pros.
  3. dumoore macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2017
    I think one main concern is privacy. I could imagine many stories about some creep finding ways to spy on people with just positioning his/her hand somewhere. Or secretly recording video in places that they shouldn't. At least it's a bit more conspicuous using a big phone and to record someone.
  4. AngerDanger macrumors 601


    Dec 9, 2008
    Great, now that double loop will have a competitor for the title of freakiest-looking-watchband.

  5. 69Mustang macrumors 604


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    I know those are just patent application images, but anything implemented looking like that... hot garbage.
  6. 8CoreWhore macrumors 68020


    Jan 17, 2008
    Big D
    Increasingly, we are becoming a low trust society. No one will like this. We saw how people responded to Google Glasses.
  7. thadoggfather macrumors G4


    Oct 1, 2007
  8. bluespark macrumors 68000

    Jul 11, 2009
    If they were to add a camera to the Watch, I think this is exactly how it should be done, for a couple of reasons: First, it addresses the concerns of many people (and businesses, government, etc.) that don't want a camera on their wrist. If it's in the band, you just use another band when you go to work, or if your concern is style, etc. Second, properly positioning the camera really is the trick with something on your wrist, especially since you'd ordinarily want to see the screen at the same time you are holding the camera up. Putting it on the band arguably gives people the best chance of doing that.

    What many of us *don't* want to see -- and emphatically don't wan to see -- is a camera on the watch itself.
  9. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    Didn't one of the early smartwatches have a camera? Pepple or some casio, don't remember. I'm in the market for a apple watch if the next iteration has some improved features (mainly battery life) and I would like to have a camera in the watchband. Even as an upgrade as long as it's integrated well in the software and if it's not too bulky. Would be nice to go for a run or bike ride and having a camera around. It could be quite useful but even with low resolution sensors it likely won't fit without major compromises.
  10. dannyyankou macrumors G3


    Mar 2, 2012
    Scarsdale, NY
    It goes without saying, Apple has a lot of patents showing off features that never see the light of day.
  11. ipedro macrumors 601


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    The answer to this problem is to capture a very wide field of view and to have software intelligently crop the frame with the possibility for the user to make adjustments in post. A front facing fisheye camera could work as a selfie/FaceTime camera when looking at the screen and as a general camera by pointing the face of the Watch at your scene and pressing a side button. watchOS would then use machine learning to find subjects in the scene and frame it correctly while also flattening out the fisheye effect.
  12. cocky jeremy macrumors 601

    cocky jeremy

    Jul 12, 2008
    Columbus, OH
    People that want to do that will do it regardless.
  13. carrrrrlos macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2010
    Wearables are great for certain things - FaceTime seems like a stretch.
  14. adepew macrumors 6502


    Jun 21, 2016
    How exactly would this camera be powered? Would there be a small battery in the band?
  15. NinjaHERO macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2008
    U S of A
    Very interesting idea. I love anything that gives me some flexibility beyond the one or two options the high ups at Apple think we need.
  16. Syrgul macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2015
    There was an aftermarket band like this a few years ago:

    Never really saw it take off, and I don't expect to see an Apple one in a band take off either. Most likely this will just be standard patent protection, to make sure somebody else doesn't patent the idea (despite there already being a product out there just for that).
  17. SRLMJ23 Contributor


    Jul 11, 2008
    Central New York
    Neat, but completely unnecessary - now and in the future I feel.

    At this point, anyone who has an Apple Watch also has an iPhone. Use the iPhone for FaceTime and any other camera related things.

    Plus, the screen is so small, and the speaker is not that great, so would the user experience be any good? My guess is no, and feel most people would use it for a little bit and then go back to their iPhones/iPads/MacBooks for FaceTime etc.

    Do we really want cameras on EVERYTHING now?

    Now I do like the idea if putting sensors in the bands to help with certain health monitoring, but I think Apple probably will design everything for now in the sensor module on the bottom of the AW. We may get "health bands" with sensors in the next major redesign of the AW, which probably will not be until around 2021-2022.

  18. rmoliv macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2017
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Enough with the cameras. People are obsessed with themselves and posting their mugs and bodies on social media. Enough!
  19. 4jasontv macrumors 68000

    Jul 31, 2011
    My first thought was 'Cool, closer to Dick Tracy'. My second thought was "extended pronation, ouch". My third thought was "people love hidden cameras".
    --- Post Merged, Jun 25, 2019 ---
    Clever, but the posture needed for extended observation of ones watch is painful.
  20. Mac 128 macrumors 603

    Mac 128

    Apr 16, 2015
    If you believe that then you are fooling yourself.

    Define many. Many of us do want a camera on the device itself. Apple's model tends to be multiple devices to serve specific purposes. Need a watch with a camera, but can't use one on the job? Buy two different watches.

    Add to that this is a terrible implementation which is very un-Apple like.

    FaceTime and selfies is exactly what a camera on a watch would be great for.

    Totally disagree. The watch is virtually an iPhone replacement now. The main thing keeping it from being that is the ability to take photos. People who prize the ability to take photos and videos will always have to keep their phones on them until the watch adds a camera -- and not in the wrist band. I wouldn't mind if there were optional accessory bands which included things like specialized sensors, extra battery packs, and better cameras for framing perspective shots, but those are both geeky things that takes away from the appeal of the watch, and something that doesn't address the way most people take pictures with their phones.
  21. iConcept macrumors newbie


    Sep 1, 2009
    When will Apple bring out a dog collar so I can truly embrace my inner Inspector Gadget?

  22. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    nowadays a tech company has to patent any idea, no matter how wild, that can be patented
  23. Cold_Beaver macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2019
    What happens if your in the medical field and cannot have a camera out in the open?
  24. KazKam macrumors 6502


    Oct 25, 2011
    Tying core hardware functionality to the watchband... just a terrible, terrible idea.

    So you wouldn't get camera features if you don't have an Apple certified $400 watch band? Just lame.

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89 June 25, 2019