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Apple is researching adding Touch ID and an under-display camera to the Apple Watch, according to two newly-published patent applications.

apple-watch-patent-touch-id-1.jpg


The first patent, granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was spotted by Patently Apple and is titled "Electronic device having sealed button biometric sensing system."

In short, the filing explains how a Touch ID fingerprint scanner could be integrated into the Side Button of an Apple Watch and what practical purposes it could serve:

The processor may apply the biometric identification for any of several purposes; for example, user identification, device unlocking, and application authorization.

It is easy to see why Apple could add Touch ID to the Apple Watch. Currently, the Apple Watch is dependent on use of a passcode and does not promt for it again until the device is removed from the wrist. Biometric authentication would allow Apple to guarantee Apple Watch users a superior level of security when putting on the device or making an Apple Pay transaction.

apple-watch-patent-touch-id-2.jpg


The implementation is extremely similar to the Power Button-based Touch ID sensor introduced on the fourth-generation iPad Air, which has also proven that the technology has shrunk over time and Apple continues to be interested in it for commercial applications.

The second filing, spotted by AppleInsider, is titled "Electronic devices with two-stage displays." It outlines how a display can be layered to contain a camera and a flash which are only externally visible when needed.

apple-watch-patent-under-display-camera-1.jpg


The two-stage display technology would also work for other devices such as the iPhone, thereby eliminating the notch, but interestingly, the patent focuses on the Apple Watch.

The technology works by layering a pixel array for displaying images and an outer layer with an array of light modulator cells that can become transparent or block out light. Some of these cells "may be placed into a transparent mode to form a window" to allow the camera to function.

When it is desired to capture images, control circuitry in the electronic device may temporarily place the shutter in a transparent mode to allow light from a flash and/or light being imaged by the camera to pass.

apple-watch-patent-under-display-camera-2.jpg


This two-stage display solution has the added benefit of each layer being able to react differently. For example, one layer could be fast-reacting for video or animations, while another could be slower for displaying static images or text. This may also improve the Apple Watch's battery life.

Although the patents do not necessarily reveal Apple's immediate plans for the Apple Watch, they do offer an interesting insight into what the company is researching and developing. Adding Touch ID and a camera would certainly present a major upgrade from current Apple Watch models.

In an interview last week Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that more sensors could be coming to the Apple Watch, potentially giving these patents more weight. Asked about the future of the product, Cook said Apple is still "in the early innings" with the device, noting that the company is testing "mind blowing" capabilities in its labs. "Think about the amount of sensors in your car," said Cook, adding "and arguably, your body is much more important than your car." It is yet to be seen if Touch ID and a camera will be added to the Apple Watch any time soon, but it is not difficult to imagine Apple implementing them at some point in the future.

Article Link: Future Apple Watch Could Gain Touch ID and Under-Display Camera
 

groove-agent

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2006
1,880
1,771
Sweet! Finally I can leave my phone at home and just take my watch, particularly while jogging. The only thing that was holding me back was taking pictures in case of an emergency or a nature photo opportunity arose. Of course I suspect this tech or reach the phones as well?
 

Lemon Olive

Suspended
Nov 30, 2020
1,208
1,324
Huge step backward. You put the thing on and enter your passcode once and its authenticated as long as it remains on your wrist. At most you are asked to double click the side button to confirm some things, and we've seen from other a devices that adding bio auth doesn't necessarily replace that.
 

AmazeSE

macrumors regular
Oct 30, 2017
158
945
Sweet! Finally I can leave my phone at home and just take my watch, particularly while jogging. The only thing that was holding me back was taking pictures in case of an emergency or a nature photo opportunity arose. Of course I suspect this tech or reach the phones as well?
I think you can only take selfies with this Apple Watch camera since it is front facing.
 
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LeadingHeat

macrumors 65816
Oct 3, 2015
1,044
2,608
Now that is cool. The screen becoming transparent? For the camera to become visible? That’s crazy. Love to see this get implemented later on.

Hopefully this patent makes it harder for Samesung to rush a device to market and sour everyone’s taste towards tech like this.
 

djlythium

macrumors 65816
Jun 11, 2014
1,156
1,604
Sweet! Finally I can leave my phone at home and just take my watch, particularly while jogging. The only thing that was holding me back was taking pictures in case of an emergency or a nature photo opportunity arose. Of course I suspect this tech or reach the phones as well?
Not sure if real or sarcastic... ?
 

LeadingHeat

macrumors 65816
Oct 3, 2015
1,044
2,608
Huge step backward. You put the thing on and enter your passcode once and its authenticated as long as it remains on your wrist. At most you are asked to double click the side button to confirm some things, and we've seen from other a devices that adding bio auth doesn't necessarily replace that.
I was thinking the same thing. I hope they make this an optional layer of security. “Light” security being the passcode if it leaves the wrist, and Touch ID if you want “heavy” security
 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
10,348
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SoCal
please, no Touch ID, please ... never worked reliably for me ... and if there is a camera, Face ID would be SO much better ...
 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
10,348
27,103
SoCal
Huge step backward. You put the thing on and enter your passcode once and its authenticated as long as it remains on your wrist. At most you are asked to double click the side button to confirm some things, and we've seen from other a devices that adding bio auth doesn't necessarily replace that.
totally agree ... touchid sucks
 
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AmazeSE

macrumors regular
Oct 30, 2017
158
945
Please make it round, square watches are ugly. I hate the aesthetic.
I hope Apple never makes a round watch. It is the square shape which makes it unique and is also useful.

Traditional analog watches were round because the extra corners are useless similar to the Apple pizza box.
For a smart watch a square display is very useful for viewing content.

The Apple Watch ⌚️ looks really beautiful.
 

AmazeSE

macrumors regular
Oct 30, 2017
158
945
I was thinking the same thing. I hope they make this an optional layer of security. “Light” security being the passcode if it leaves the wrist, and Touch ID if you want “heavy” security
Everything will be the same mostly. Instead of typing your passcode you just touch the crown and the watch will remain unlocked as long as it is on your wrist. Plus it will make paying with Apple Pay even more secure.
 

AirunJae

macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2008
488
1,115
Indianapolis, IN
Please make it round, square watches are ugly. I hate the aesthetic.
Seems pretty unlikely (in the short term at least) for a number of reasons: 1 - It's identifiable as an Apple Watch/Apple device when you see something that's a squircle, 2 - Square is better for information density, 3 - App compatibility and not having to have a bifurcated system of apps, 4 - Continued band compatibility, although I suppose they might be able to design a circular watch in such a way with some mounts or something that they could make it work. That said, if Apple gets the Watch to a certain maturation point and they want to freshen it up and appeal to a different segment, I could see them doing it eventually. It just seems unlikely to be anytime soon.
 

rdawo

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2020
6
4
This only seems useful if they want to add AW integration with android devices. Since they most likely wouldn't have the feature to unlock the watch with their phones, this would make the most sense.
 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
10,348
27,103
SoCal
if they would make TouchID "mandatory" for eg Apple Pay - I will ditch the Apple Watch ... I had a 50-60% success rate on iPhone and on my MBP it's slightly better but still <75% :(
 

ipedro

macrumors 603
Nov 30, 2004
6,277
8,624
Toronto, ON
I'm all for TouchID on the watch, but please, no camera. I don't want battery life to diminish to 45 minutes just to see up people's nostrils on FaceTime video calls.

The camera on a Watch would more likely be used for asynchronous communication. Rather than long video chats, which nobody is going to do with their arm held up, it’d be used to send short video messages and responded to by the other party in a texting like interaction.
 

gaximus

macrumors 68020
Oct 11, 2011
2,282
4,516
I don't want to spend more more on a piece of tech that is useless. The camera might be cool, but Touch ID on the watch makes no sense. I unlock my Watch once or twice a day, and If I have my phone on me, I only need to unlock it to unlock my watch.
 
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