Patent applications present Apple Watch without digital crown

In a nutshell: The digital crown has been a staple of the Apple Watch since the first version was released in 2015. The digital crown, modeled on the crown of traditional watches, is a physical pusher that can be pressed or rotated to facilitate navigating watchOS. However, future versions could come with an optical sensor instead of a digital crown, if the idea from a recent patent application finds its way into the finished product.

In the recently published patent applicationApple plans to implement a watch with an optical sensor instead of a digital crown. How is Apple patented Basic moments, the sensor can be used for gesture control and biometric measurement assistance.

Ditching the digital crown will free up valuable space inside the wearable for things like a larger battery. It will also reduce the number of moving parts and further improve water resistance, just like removing the SIM card slot on an iPhone.

One of the pressing concerns is whether the gesture controls are robust enough to replace a physical button, especially the history button that the crown on traditional wristwatches has. Gesture controls have always seemed a bit gimmicky – is Apple willing to risk the watch’s reputation as a gimmick?

What do you think? Should Apple ditch the digital crown and make its smartwatches more streamlined, or is this a feature that Cupertino isn’t going to tinker with?

Image Credit: Thorsten Detlaff, Pixabay

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