The next Apple Watch could let you answer phone calls with a clenched fist

Gesture control could be taken to a new level in Apple's next smartwatch
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The Apple Watch may already be able to recognize your wrist position for features like raise-to-wake, but a newly uncovered patent suggests this functionality could be set to improve in a future smartwatch.

The filing - first uncovered by Patently Apple - details a system whereby the Apple Watch would be able to recognise and respond to more advanced wrist actions, such as a clenched fist.

So, how would this work? Well, either through improved sensors on the internal side and underside of the smartwatch (or through smart bands), the device would be able to read the user's wrist and respond in real time.

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This wouldn't kick the watch into action every time you clenched your first - else, you know, all those burgeoning street fighters would be in a false-positive paralysis - with the file's sketches indicating a user would have to clench their fist firmly for a continued amount of time before a progress wheel was complete.

The next Apple Watch could let you answer phone calls with a clenched fist

In this specific example, clenching the fist in a certain way answer or decline a call, though the patent does also explain how a certain wrist gesture would also be able to dismiss a notification.

And though this is just a patent, and it's fairly unlikely this specific example winds up being implemented on the next Apple Watch, it's also the kind of rumor we've seen pop up before. Plus, it's realistic to imagine Apple would, at some point, install some improved gesture control that goes beyond the simple raise-to-wake.

However, we know from testing other devices that even nailing raise-to-wake can be tricky - the wrist sees so much movement it can be hard for companies to weed out intended watch raises from general ones.

If we are to see anything concrete on this, it's likely to appear at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, where it's expected to give us a peek at watchOS 7 - software which will debut on the Apple Watch Series 6.

Until then, stay out of any street fights and check back for any more Apple Watch rumors or leaks.

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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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