Future Apple Watch Could Feature a Hidden under Display Camera

Apple Watch has come a long way ever since it debuted in 2015. The smartwatch has gained a slew of new features over time. Features like ECG, heart rate sensor, Fall Detection have helped save people’s lives. A newly-granted patent reveals how Apple could include a hidden camera and flash on the Apple Watch.

Interestingly the camera and flash will only be visible when being used. Other times it will be concealed within the display. Apple’s latest patent talks about developing a screen with multiple display layers. Each layer comes with different display technologies. As with any other patent, this one too covers a wide range of possibilities.

An electronic device display may have an inner layer with a pixel array for displaying images and an outer layer with an array of light modulator cells operable in transparent and light-blocking modes. The force sensor and touch sensor circuitry may be used to gather user input such as information on finger pressure or stylus input applied to a location on the display.

The patent details how a block of the cells can be made to form a transparent window using custom sensor circuitry. Another scenario is when “images can be displayed” by adjusting the cells of the light modulator layer. Furthermore, camera and the entire optical setup can be covered by an adjustable shutter.

Apple explains that they can use a two-stage display. One of the layers will have a fast-reacting display that shows fast-moving imagery. While the other one will be used for displaying slow-changing images like clock and text. Each layer can be turned off/on to access the different layers. In other words, the display can change the appearance of the entire device.

Our Take

Apple is adding new features to reduce Apple Watch’s dependence on the iPhone. It is doubtful that Apple Watch will get a camera in the near future. That said, smartphone makers like Oppo and others are already offering under-display selfie camera.

Have you ever felt the need of camera on Apple Watch? Let us know in the comments below.

[via USPTO]