Apple still has visions for an Apple Watch camera system - and it could come built in

Latest patent imagines you detaching the smartwatch for quick snaps
Wareable apple watch camera
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Apple has been granted yet another patent relating to a built-in camera system featured on the Apple Watch.

It becomes the latest in a series of camera-related filings the Cupertino giant has been granted by the USPTO over the last half-decade, with the last major patent uncovered in 2019.

While that one focused on an Apple Watch band that packed a camera inside, however, this latest filing instead imagines a camera built into the Apple Watch case. 

A different kind of watch band still features in this one - only now it allows the Apple Watch itself to easily detach and be used as a mini point-and-shoot.

USPTO/Appleapple watch camera patent

As shown in the patent sketches, the Apple Watch screen would act as the camera's viewfinder, while the Digital Crown would likely act as the shutter. Once you were done taking photos, the case could then be placed straight back into the strap - likely much more easily than the current band mechanism allows.

The idea kind of reminds us of the recently unveiled Huawei Watch Cyber - one of the first real-world examples we've seen of detachable bezel shells. While that smartwatch's detachable powers were largely style-based, mind, detaching the Apple Watch in this example would prove to be much more functional. 

USPTO/Appleapple watch camera patent

As with other Apple Watch camera patents, though, we're still not entirely convinced about the actual concept. 

Unless you were without your phone during exercise, or your phone battery happened to be drained, we're just not really sure the feature would get much use.

And, as we found with something like the third-party, $299 Apple Watch WristCam, image quality is obviously a long way behind what a phone can offer.

Still, it is likely that smartwatches like the Apple Watch do offer a camera as time goes on - and, relatively speaking, the system proposed in this latest patent is one of the more plausible. Far more plausible than the last time we got a proper built-in smartwatch camera, as well, in the form of the 2014 Samsung Gear S2 Neo.

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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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