New Apple Watch rumour includes a feature you'd never expect

A patent application sheds some light on how future Apple Watch models might work

Apple Watch Pride Edition band
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Watch is easily among the best smartwatches on the market – if not the best, especially if you own an iPhone 13. But with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on its tail, Apple can't afford to rest on its laurels. 

A new patent, discovered by AppleInsider, shows that Apple is hard at work on innovating for the Apple Watch, focusing on its most unique feature. 

The Digital Crown, which facilities navigation around the watch while harking back to timepieces of times gone by, could be in for an unusual upgrade sometime in the future. 

The patent in question, recently granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office, relates to adding a camera to a smartwatch. You read that right: a camera.

"A watch having a camera is disclosed," the filing says in its abstract. "The watch can include a housing having a front side, a back side, and an attachment interface configured to couple to a watch band." 

Apple Watch Patent

(Image credit: USPTO)

"A camera can be mounted to the housing and configured to capture a picture of a scene through the back side of the housing. A display can be visible through the front side of the housing and configured to display the picture."

Of course, filing a patent doesn't mean Apple will ever develop this technology and necessarily even release it. But it's fun to get some insight into what the company is at least considering.

There are a lot of technical and privacy hurdles to overcome before releasing such an update for the Apple Watch, of course, most notably that surreptitiously taking photos of people with the Digital Crown would raise privacy issues.

New Apple Watch: What do we know?

We expect the next Apple wearable update to be the Apple Watch Series 8, after a fairly incremental update for the Watch Series 7

WWDC 2022 is right around the corner, but Apple traditionally sticks to software updates during its keynote – no surprise, really, given it's a worldwide developer confernece – meaning we could see the Series 8 alongside the iPhone 14 later in the year, around September.

Additional sensors for the Apple Watch 8 could be part of the mix, alongside three size options and updated watch bands. Aside from that, we don't know an awful lot more – but it'll be exciting to see what's revealed between now and later in the year. 

Max Slater-Robins

Max Slater-Robins has written for T3 now on and off for over half a decade, with him fitting in serious study at university in between. Max is a tech expert and as such you'll find his words throughout, appearing in everything from reviews and features, to news and deals. Max is specifically a veteran when it comes round to deal hunting, with him seeing out multiple Black Friday campaigns to date.