New Apple patent hints at plans to add camera to Apple Watch

Through the Looking Glass: Earlier this week, Apple received a new patent for a detachable watch-based camera mount system. The patent includes a detachable strap design and a quick-release locking mechanism to support the watch-based camera. While there is no guarantee that they will be released, the patent is a good sign that Apple is actively looking for new features for its watch-wearing fans.

Issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on February 7, a new patent (US-11571048-B1) focuses on a strap-based quick-release system that provides easy access to the built-in watch-based camera.

Based on patent information, the holding system can enable users to quickly and easily remove the watch face, take photos with the camera facing down, and then easily return the device to its original position. The information was first reported patent apple

This new strap-based system is hardly Apple’s first attempt at patenting watch-based camera functionality. In 2019, the company was awarded US-10331083-B1 for watch strap with built-in flexible optical sensor. If this PTZ camera becomes available, it will allow you to take photos without having to remove the watch from the user’s wrist.

Apple also won’t be the first company to bring compact camera technology to wearables. Samsung tried to normalize the concept of wearable cameras with Galaxy Gear initial release in September 2013. The Apple Watch quickly overshadowed the device, however, and users weren’t overwhelmed by the Galaxy’s built-in 1.9-megapixel camera.

While a high-quality built-in camera may be of practical use for some, it raises potential privacy and security concerns for others.

The ability to take photos in secret, eliminating the need to use a large handheld camera or phone, opens the door to anything from secret, unauthorized and incriminating photos to increased risk of corporate espionage. Built-in cameras will require a new level of security and awareness to ensure they are not misused in places such as schools, locker rooms, restrooms or where there is a risk of capturing sensitive documents and information.

The dominance of technologies such as built-in cameras in wearable devices puts even more emphasis on compliance with laws and regulations such as Video Voyeur Prevention Act. A law that protects people from being recorded in private areas without their consent is a type of protection that is integral to making technology such as watch-based cameras available to responsible users while protecting potential victims of misuse.

Image credit: David Svikhovets

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