A newly granted Apple patent published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has detailed how integrating the camera into a part of the Apple Watch band rather than the Watch itself could allow the user to position the camera any way he likes in order to capture the ideal shot (via 9to5Mac).
According to Apple, the reasoning behind this design is that “a potential barrier to smartwatch adoption is their minimal image-capturing ability.” Apple’s proposed solution also allows for the possibility of cameras on both sides of the band, and might even allow for 360-degree imagery.
The patent also details several different ways to actually take the photo, as well as a better solution for making FaceTime calls without having to awkwardly hold the Apple Watch camera in place:
The optical sensor may capture images or video when the user takes an affirmative action such as pinching the camera watch band, giving a verbal command, pressing a button on the distal end portion of the camera watch band, or pressing a button on the case.
[…] In some embodiments, the optical sensor may be disposed in a rigid housing within the distal end portion of the camera watch band. Alternatively, the optical sensor may removably mount to the watch body to secure the optical sensor in a closer fixed position relative to the watch body.
As with every patent, there is no guarantee you’ll see this in a future Apple Watch. Nonetheless, by adding a camera to the Apple Watch, Apple could get one step closer to creating a true standalone wearable.