Apple goes 007: patent approved for Apple Watch with built-in camera

Apple Watch SE
Current Apple Watch models don't have built-in cameras - but that may be set to change (Image credit: Apple)

An Apple watch with a built-in camera originally designed for James Bond could hit the mass market. The US Patent and Trademark Office has officially granted the manufacturer a patent for the design of an Apple Watch with a detachable camera segment, so that users can shoot hands-free. 

Although there are ways you can add a camera to your Apple Watch using Wristcam, Apple is yet to release an Watch with a camera built-in. If the design goes ahead as planned, though, we could see Apple Watches with a detachable nest section that allows for quick and convenient release of the watch and components without having to undo the strap. 

• Is the Wristcam actually any good? Check out our full Wristcam review 

According to Patently Apple, the nest section (the working part of the watch) will use a releasable attachment mechanism, such as a latch or magnet, that enables the wearer to quickly release the nest from its mount. Diagrams of the patent show the familiar, smooth square watch face with three buttons on the side and the camera positioned towards the bottom.

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

Users will thus be able to use the watch while it’s attached to the strap or by holding it, making it perfect for taking a quick selfie or joining a video call. The size and convenience of the Apple Watch means that you don’t have to rely on a phone, and can use it as an alternative if an iPhone runs out of battery.

Patents for an Apple Watch with a built-in camera were first submitted in 2018 but no design ever came to fruition. In 2019 the manufacturer won a patent for an Apple Watch Band with a built-in rotatable camera, but again it was unsuccessful. Perhaps it’s a case of third time lucky for the California-based tech company, which is hoping this latest patent application will result in the world’s first photo-ready Apple Watch.

Since the announcement of the original Apple Watch in September 2014, the latest models have benefited from advanced health and safety features such as an ECG app to monitor heart rate, a blood oxygen app, sleep tracker, temperature sensor, crash detection, and up to 328ft / 100m water resistance. With the addition of a camera, could the next Apple Watch be one its most exciting innovation ever?

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.