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An Apple Watch camera is one of the things that could make it more practical for the wearable device to eventually replace an iPhone.
But even if Apple included a camera in a future watch, there’s an obvious problem …
How do you give people the freedom to frame the photo as they wish, while still allowing them to see the image on the display of the Watch?
That’s a problem Apple tackles in a patent granted today.
Apple’s proposed solution is to integrate the camera into part of the band, rather than the Watch itself. You’d be able to pull out a section of the band, which would be flexible so you can angle it as desired. The lens itself would rotate on the end of the band for complete flexibility.
A potential barrier to smartwatch adoption is their minimal image-capturing ability. Some embodiments described herein include a smartwatch with the functionality of a camera that is independently positionable relative to a watch body. This can allow the smartwatch to capture images and video at angles and orientations that do not depend directly on the angle and orientation of the rest of the smartwatch, including the watch body. Such functionality can replace or at least meaningfully augment a user’s existing camera or camera-enabled device (e.g., smartphone, tablet). Such a wearable device that captures images and video may do so via an optical lens integrated into a distal end portion of a watch band that retains the device on a user’s wrist.
But what about FaceTime? It would be awkward to have to hold the Apple Watch camera in place. The patent has a solution to that too.
In some embodiments, the extension portion of the camera watch band may maintain its form after being manipulated and released by a user, to maintain a user-set camera orientation relative to the rest of the smartwatch. To help maintain its form, the flexible camera watch band may include a malleable metal core, a core of magnetorhelogical fluid, mechanical links, or any combination of these features. 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.
Just as iPhones have cameras on both sides, so too could a Watch band – and they could include the ability to shoot 360-degree video.
In some embodiments, a second optical sensor is coupled to the opposing side of the camera watch band to which the first optical sensor is coupled. The user may quickly switch between optical sensors or capture images or video from either optical sensor or from both optical sensors at the same time.
There could also be several different ways to actually take the photo.
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 (e.g., on the screen of the display, which may include a graphical input on a touchscreen of the display).
Apple says the invention would free us from the need to carry an iPhone, at least some of the time.
A smartwatch that has the capability of capturing images and video may provide an opportunity for users to be more reliant on their smartwatch and less reliant on other devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, digital cameras) to capture images or videos. Thus, a smartwatch with the capability of capturing images or videos may enable a user to forego carrying a smartphone when doing some activities, especially activities or environments where it would be difficult to take a smartphone (e.g., hiking, running, swimming, surfing, snowboarding, and any number of other situations).
In our poll, a third of you said there was a better-than-even chance that an Apple Watch could replace your iPhone within a few years.
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Apple Watch could slim down with this interesting new patent
The Apple Watch could get a little bit slimmer in future iterations if ideas in a new Apple patent ever see the light of day. The patent application in question details a haptic motor that takes up residence in the band of the watch instead of the watch itself.
This could do something to solve the problem of space within the Apple Watch. As we’ve seen with recent versions of the iPhone, Apple likes to make its devices as thin as it can, but because it has to fit all of the Apple Watch hardware within a relatively tiny space, slimming it down becomes more difficult. By applying this patent and moving the motor responsible for haptic feedback to the band, it could open up some addition space within the Watch.
Apple breaks down the idea pretty well in the patent application, but even without a detailed overview, the idea is pretty straightforward. The patent application discusses putting haptic sensors within attachment mechanisms – either the mechanisms that attach the band to the watch, or the clasp that attaches the band (and therefore the device as a whole) to the user, moving the haptic sensor to the underside of the wrist.
Going even further, the patent suggests generating the haptic feedback within the band itself. Essentially, there are a few different ways Apple considers implementing this idea, so the patent application covers a lot of ground. It also suggests either a wireless or wired connection between the sensor and processor:
The electronic device can be in communication with the one or more haptic devices through a wired and/or wireless connection. In some embodiments, a remote electronic device can be in communication with the electronic device attached to the wearable band and the remote electronic device can activate or deactivate a haptic response in one or more attachment mechanisms associated with the wearable band.
In addition to using this patent to make the watch thinner, Apple could also choose to keep the size of the Apple Watch the same and add additional components. As it stands right now, the size of the current Apple Watch is roughly on par with more conventional watches, so it doesn’t necessarily need to get thinner. Apple could instead use that space to increase the size of the battery, giving the Apple Watch extended life.
While this would allow for increased functionality within the band, one downside is that it could also make buying additional bands a more expensive endeavor. That could be offset by perhaps decreasing the cost of other Apple Watch hardware, but there’s no guarantee Apple would go that route. Still, at this point, it’s probably too early to speculate on any price changes this patent would bring forth.
It’s an interesting patent to be sure, and the full text can be found via the source link below. Considering that a new Apple Watch just launched a few months back, we likely won’t see this technology implemented for quite some time, if it’s even implemented at all. Still, there’s always the possibility that we’ll see such a band in the next Apple Watch model, assuming Apple moves forward with the idea.
SOURCE: US Patent and Trademark Office
Apple may have found the percent place to fit a camera lens into a future Apple Watch model as a new patent filing reveals that the company did toy with the idea of embedding a dedicated camera inside the device’s Digital Crown button.
The Digital Crown on all models is on the device’s right side. Putting a camera inside the button itself may have some potentially unpleasant privacy implications. How would you feel being able to take spy images of other people with your watch, without anyone realizing what you’re up to? Thought so.
That said, Apple is not in the stalking business so the company would theoretically provide privacy controls for a future Apple Watch camera.
Apple files many patents as a defensive strategy, but this doesn’t seem to be one of those cases. That said, there are no guarantees it’ll see the light of day.An Apple Watch camera within the Digital Crown
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Apple a new patent titled “Watch having a camera.” The move indicates Apple at some point was researching how a tiny camera could be embedded into a future model of the Apple Watch. Among the several proposed solutions is fitting a camera lens within the body of the Digital Crown button, which is located on the device’s right side.
A watch can include a rotatable dial, such as a rotatable crown used for digital inputs. A camera can be included in the assembly to allow for images to be captured through an aperture extending through the dial.
To accomplish that, Apple could use touch-sensitive glass for the Digital Crown’s top. In turn, the camera’s flash would need to be multi-purposed for optical heart rate monitoring. But how precisely would this camera focus on subjects?
A lens can be integrated within the aperture and/or behind the aperture of the dial to focus an image of a scene. An image sensor disposed behind the aperture can further be configured to detect movement of a marking on the dial to allow the image sensor to function both as a camera for capturing pictures of a scene, and as a sensor that detects rotation of the dial for sensing rotational inputs.
Sounds to us like a feasible solution.But how would you take pictures?
The patent explains how the user would take a picture with such a setup. It proposes turning the watch face into a viewfinder and having a dedicated shutter button. We’re speculating here, but there’d surely be a dedicated camera app that might even let you snap a photo by performing a quick hand gesture, like clenching.
And this, from Apple’s patents description:
Additionally or alternatively, a camera can be implemented as a back-facing camera configured capture pictures through a back side of a watch housing. Although the wrist may occlude the camera from taking pictures of a scene when the watch housing is worn on the wrist, the housing may be removable from the wrist via a release mechanism in the attachment interface, or by removing the housing together with the watch band, to capture pictures with the back-facing camera.
This isn’t the first patent promising an Apple Watch camera.
Back in June of 2023, for example, the Cupertino technology giant was granted a patent that outlines a future Apple Watch band featuring an embedded rotatable camera (actually, a third-party company came up with that before Apple, it’s called Wristcam). And in one of its earlier patents Apple even proposes putting a camera under the Apple Watch display. That one would depend on Apple’s ability to create a sub-panel camera with good picture quality (conveniently, some of next year’s iPhones could also utilize a sub-display selfie camera, rumor has it).Hmm, what about privacy?
Apple’s proposal seems like one of those design solutions that just feels inevitable. You instantly know that’s the way the thing has always been supposed to work, like seeing the iPhone’s multi-touch in action for the first time in your life. But with great power comes great responsibility, so what about privacy? Having a tiny camera embedded within a smartwatch button would theoretically let bad actors secretly snap up photos of yo (on the other hand, you could say the same thing about smartphone cameras.) Read: How to use theater mode on your Apple Watch
Phone manufacturers such as Apple have solved this by having the device play a shutter sound every time you take a photo (the shutter sound can be silenced with the iPhone’s ring switch, with the exception of some countries due to legal requirements). That’s how Apple could address privacy concerns regarding a camera-enabled watch: Every time you took a photo, the familiar shutter sound would alert folks nearby you might be taking a photograph without them knowing.
Feeling festive, blue, missing someone, or need tons of data handy, instantly switch your Apple watch face to match your mood, occasion, or requirements. Set photos or animated Memoji, add varied complications or change it as per a schedule. Thankfully Apple gives you several ways to customize your watch face. Here’s how you can do it.
How to Change Watch Face on Apple Watch
There are two effortless ways to choose a different watch face on your Apple Watch quickly.
Lift your wrist to light up the screen. You may also tap once. From the left or right edge, swipe horizontally to easily switch to a different watch face from your collection.
Press firmly on your current watch face. Now, swipe left or right to see all the available watch faces from your collection. Tap on one to set it.
Now, let us see how to add helpful features to the Apple Watch face.
Add Complications to the Watch Face
According to Apple, complications are ‘special features‘ that you can add to some watch faces. Once you do that, you can see information like battery status, weather, stocks, heart rate, etc. at a glance. Complications also let you quickly trigger an action. For example, get to the Phone app quickly. Here is how to add complications to the Apple watch face.
Press firmly on the current watch face. Tap on Customize. If your Apple Watch is running watchOS 7, tap on Edit.
Swipe left till you reach the end screen. Tap on one of them.
Press the Digital Crown to save the changes.
Finally, tap on the watch face to set it.Add Complications from Other Apps
Third-party apps downloaded from the App Store can have their complications for the Apple Watch. Here is how to enable and make use of them.
Open the Watch app on your paired iPhone. Tap on My Watch tab, if not already.
Tap on Complications.
Tap on Edit.
Under DO NOT INCLUDE, tap on the green plus icon for a complication.
Now, this third-party complication is ready to be used with compatible watch faces. Follow the above steps for this. It is the same as adding any in-built complication.
Note: watchOS 7 allows you to add multiple complications from the same app to view different pieces of information at a glance.
For instance, if you use the Dawn Patrol app for surfing, you can set up a watch face that shows the water temperature, swell, and wind speed predictions for a beach of your choice.
Change Watch Face Colors, Symbols, Dial, etc.
On supported watch faces, you can change the accent color, style, dial type (analog, digital), number system (Arabic, Indian, Roman, etc.), and more. Here is how.
Press firmly on the current watch face.
Tap Customize. Or swipe left or right to select the desired watch face and then tap on Customize.
On top of the screen, you will see SYMBOLS, DIAL, STYLE, COLOR, etc. The options here depend on the watch face. Some have, some do not.
Turn the Digital Crown to make the changes.
Swipe left to right to select a different heading. Again rotate the Digital Crown to customize it.
Press the Digital Crown to save the changes, and finally tap on the watch face to set it.
Set Photo as Watch Face on Apple Watch
There are two easy ways. You can use saved pictures on your Apple Watch to create and set it as a watch face. Or, use the Photos app on the iPhone. Let us look at both.Using Apple Watch
Open the Photos app and tap on a picture to open it in full screen.
Press firmly on the image.
Tap on Create Watch Face.
Choose Kaleidoscope or Photos.
The image is set as the watch face. Press the Digital Crown to see it.Using Photos App on iPhone
Launch the Photos app → Albums → Recents.
Tap on Select. Now choose one image or any number up to 24 (It will change every time you lift your wrist). Next, tap on the Share icon.
Scroll down and tap on Create Watch Face.
On the next screen, you can customize it with colors, complications, etc.
Finally, tap on ADD. The new watch face is set.
With watchOS 7, you can share watch faces too. So, if you have a beautiful watch face with photos of your kids, you can share this with your wife’s Apple Watch.
Add a Watch Face to Your Collection
Suppose you want to sport a new watch face every day (or frequently). For this, you should add them to the collection, so it becomes effortless to switch among them. Here is how to do that.
Press firmly on the current watch face.
Swipe all the way from right to left. Tap on the plus icon.
Use touch or Digital Crown to see the watch faces. Tap on one to add it.
Note: When you create watch faces, for example, from photos, they are automatically added to your collection.
View Your Watch Face Collection
You can view your collection from the Apple Watch or the paired iPhone.
Delete a Watch Face From Your Collection
You can remove watch faces straight from your Apple Watch or the iPhone. Here’s how.From the Apple Watch
Firmly press on a watch face.
Swipe left or right to select the desired one.
Now, drag it up (just like you force close apps on iPhone). Finally, tap Remove.From the iPhone
Open the Watch app → Tap on My Watch.
Tap on Edit next to MY FACES.
Tap on the red minus icon and then tap Remove.
Change Time Shown in Watch Face
Many people, myself included, like to keep the wristwatch 5 minutes ahead. You can do so with your Apple Watch as well. Please note that thankfully, this change does not affect alarms, the time shown in notifications, world clocks, or any other time. Pretty neat!
Open the Settings app on your watch.
Scroll down using touch or by rotating the Digital Crown. Tap on Clock.
Tap on +0 min.
Turn the Digital Crown to set your watch ahead. You can choose from 1 minute to up to 59 minutes.
Finally, tap on Set.
This new forward time is visible only on the watch face. The time everywhere else, like in the upper right corner of the Apple Watch Settings app or other apps, will continue to be the actual time.
Automatically Change Apple Watch Faces According to Time and Location
Launch the Shortcuts app on your iPhone.
Go to the Automation tab from the bottom of the screen and tap on ‘+’.
Here, tap on Create Personal Automation.
Tap Time of Day and choose the time and the repeat cycle accordingly.
After selection, tap on Next.
Now, tap on Add Action.
Search Set Watch Face and select the action.
Here, tap on Face (the box at the end) and select the watch face from the list, and tap on Next.
Now, turn off the toggle next to Ask Before Running off.
Select Don’t Ask from the popup & then tap on Done to create the shortcut.
The tutorial is focused on Time of Day, you can easily do similar for a location as well. This is very slightly different, Just repeat steps 1 to 3 and then choose either Arrive or Leave → Choose, and enter the location.
After selection tap on Done → select whether Any time or Time Range → Tap on Next → Add Action → search for Set Watch Face → Tap on Face → select the watch face → Next → Done.
As and when the shortcuts created by you will run, your Apple Watch face will switch. Isn’t this hack super simple and massively handy; And the best part is that you can create as many scenarios as you want, one for home, office, movie, parties, gym, and what not…Customize the Apple Watch Face to Match your Mood
This how you can play with different watch face settings to make the Apple Watch reflect your personality. Feel free to explore the possibilities on your own.
Besides, we also have a list of best Apple Watch alternatives. In case you are planning to get a wearable for a friend or family, make sure to check our recommendation.
The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.
It’s easy to dismiss how reliant a modern lifestyle is on the ability to constantly charge batteries and consume large quantities of data over WiFi. Even minor interruptions to internet and electrical services can be frustrating inconveniences, but how do iPhones, Apple Watches, and Macs fare during an extended period off the grid? I unexpectedly found out this week.
Shortly after noon on July 20th, a round of severe storms sent a large cedar tree crashing to the ground in my front yard, severing the power and communication lines running to my home and office. Outages were widespread throughout the entire region, with countless trees and utility poles snapped. Cell towers were even offline for several hours. Maintenance crews began a 24/7 operation to restore service to nearly 170,000 customers in rural areas. Severe weather of this caliber is highly uncommon along the northern edge of the Midwestern United States.
While most family and friends had power and internet restored within about a day, the single line running from my house to the road was a low priority for a crew overworked and stretched thin tackling larger outages. Power wasn’t restored until the afternoon of July 23rd, roughly 76 hours later. Internet service remains disconnected as I write this.
The tree that disconnected my power and communication lines.Low Power Mode
MacBooks could benefit from Low Power Mode, too. Switching from the power adapter to battery power already enables a number of energy-saving features, but a toggle for further performance optimizations — like freezing background apps — could significantly improve power-hungry macOS. My MacBook was the most challenging device to keep charged by far, especially since it can’t be fed with a standard portable USB-A power bank.Personal Hotspot
I’ve used Personal Hotspot on my iPhone more in the past four days than in the four years prior to this outage. Sharing cell data with my MacBook has been critical for working while my home internet is down. Personal Hotspot is perfect for brief tethering sessions, but falls short for sustained use, especially when carrier overages are costly.
Data usage controls would make Personal Hotspot much more useful and economical. As of today, there’s no way to view how much data individual devices are using while tethered. On recent iPhones, the display notch also prevents you from viewing how many devices are connected in the status bar.Low Data Mode
Similar to Low Power Mode, the addition of Low Data Mode on macOS could further alleviate cell data constraints. iOS 13 will add this capability to iPhones when it launches later this year. Some individual apps already have data control settings for features like autoplay video and high-resolution photos, but a system-wide toggle ensures nothing falls through the cracks. As it stands today, keeping a Mac connected via Personal Hotspot at all times is largely impractical without an unlimited data plan.
Data sharing between devices with the same Apple ID also has the potential to cut down on cellular usage. For apps present on both iOS and macOS like Messages, Mail, and Photos, data could theoretically be passed locally between devices instead of downloaded multiple times over the same cell connection.Apple Watch
I charge my Apple Watch nightly no matter the circumstances and have been fortunate enough to never run the battery dead since upgrading to a Series 4 model last fall. Faced with the need to stretch my batteries as long as possible, I was pleasantly surprised by how long the latest Apple Watch can remain off a charger. Between Saturday morning and Monday evening, I only needed about 20 minutes of charging time to keep my watch running with a healthy margin of battery life. I minimized notifications and turned off WiFi to conserve power, but didn’t need to enter Power Reserve, dial back the display brightness, disable background app refresh, or enable Power Saving Mode in the Workout app.
The flashlight toggle first added in watchOS 4 is also surprisingly useful. I’ve never had a real reason to use it before aside from novelty, but in a pinch it just might be more useful than the iPhone’s flashlight because you can use it hands-free.
If you have a recent Apple Watch, don’t dismiss the feature as a gimmick — the 1,000-nit display is brighter than you might expect.HomeKit
I’ve been slow to adopt HomeKit devices into my lifestyle, but with power restored and internet service still disconnected, I’m grateful only a few of my lights are smart. The HomeKit fixtures I do have are mostly inoperable right now, making them even less convenient than my standard lights and switches. Extended outages like mine are uncommon, but it’s worth considering the possibility of a similar event happening at your own home before throwing out all of your standard fixtures. Needless to say, my HomePod has also been reduced to an elegant paperweight.
Overstaying my welcome at Starbucks helped minimize data overages.Lessons
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LG V30s with AI camera said to echo Apple strategy
LG is reportedly cooking up a revamped version of its V30, the LG V30s, that promises to inject some artificial intelligence smarts into the Android phone’s camera. An iterative tweak on the existing – and generally well-received V30 – the new smartphone is expected to make its debut at Mobile World Congress 2023, in just a few weeks time.
LG’s approach to the upcoming mobile-centric show has been a prominent topic of discussion lately, with suggestions that the South Korean phone-maker is overhauling its strategy in the market. Rather than mimicking arch rival Samsung and others in a yearly refresh cycle, LG is believed to be stepping off that fixed schedule. Instead, it will release new flagships as and when they’re ready, making better use of existing designs in the process, and generally taking a more targeted attitude to its roadmap.
That will take some steel to stick to in the face of upcoming flagships, mind. Samsung is expected to dominate the Mobile World Congress headlines with the new Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, the latest iterations of its best-selling Android flagships. While they’ll feature new processors and other updated specifications, Samsung’s emphasis this year is believed to be on the S9’s camera, which will use a new dual-aperture lens.
LG, too, is believed to be focusing on camera technology at MWC 2023, but in a very different way. The LG V30s, ETNews reports, will look pretty much identical to the form-factor of the V30 announced at last year’s show in Barcelona. However the phone – previously known in rumors as the “LG V30+Alpha” – will debut a new “LG Lens” camera feature that promises things like foreign language translation, object recognition, shopping integration, overlaying navigation instructions over the real-time view from the camera, and more.
In short, it’s much akin to the Bixby Camera feature that Samsung launched on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 last year. It’ll be LG’s first real push to use computational photography and AI in its devices, and the company is presumably hoping it goes down better than Samsung’s Bixby did.
The “s” suffix LG is adding to the smartphone’s name is a clear nod to Apple’s strategy of differentiating its iPhone updates. The Cupertino company has long stuck to what’s generally a two-year refresh cycle, with a significant update in one year followed by a refinement of that same design the following year. In the case of the LG V30s, the expectation is that LG will increase the internal storage to 256 GB.
It’s become increasingly clear over the past few years that LG needed to do something different in its approach to smartphones. While its handsets have generally received positive reviews, sales have struggled to achieve anything like the scale of Samsung’s Galaxy line-up, or indeed the success of the iPhone. In its most recent Q4 2023 financial results, mobile division performance was the blot on an otherwise healthy balance sheet, with revenues increasing but not enough to tip the segment into profit.
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