Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had been rumoured to be looking to introduce a FaceTime feature into their Apple Watches for some time. However, today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office just granted a patent to Apple regarding a special band for the Apple Watch with either one or two in-built cameras. These in-built cameras would help the Watches gain the feature of Selfies and FaceTime conferencing. Let us look into this patent with some detail.
Apple Watch: The Ultimate Device for FaceTime
Way back in 2016, Apple had posted a patent report titled ‘Ultimate Selfie Camera’. In the report, Apple had mentioned, “the camera can be disposed on the front surface of Apple Watch face to capture images of the user“. This does away with the need of a camera which lies on the side of the Apple Watch. This feature would also help in the users taking better selfies with their Apple Watches. But, how does this old patent work with the new patent mentioned above?
The answer to this lies in its image processing. The recent Apple’s newly granted patent also covers a processor for capturing and processing images. Now, this allows a very unique function to the Apple Watch. It will be able to track the face of the user while using FaceTime. This will result in a relatively stable video stream, regardless of the motion of the hands.
How Are the Multiple Cameras Coming Into Play?
The above-mentioned image capturing and processing feature of the device gives it a few new ‘abilities’. The device may now use the previously captured images of the source to give a perfect angle of video shooting virtually, even though the camera might not be in an ideal video streaming position. For example, the images of the source of interest might be captured from multiple cameras shown on the device. Now, the wrist is one of the least stable parts of our body. It is always in motion. Now, the user might not be holding the watch in the best of positions for video streaming. But, based on previously captured images, the watch will be able to process a video on the screen from which it might seem like the watch is held at a perfect angle.
To facilitate the function mentioned above, the cameras are thought to equip wide angle lenses. This will help them capture a lot of the source subject, along with his surroundings. The watch may then be able to process the image and just focus on the source subject. This will allow the source subject to be extracted and all the other surroundings discarded with.
Therefore, if the user moves his hand during a FaceTime call, the source subject, i.e. the Face, will still be inside the wide angle view of the cameras. This will allow for a stable video streaming regardless of motion, doing away with the need to maintain a steady wrist position.
How Is the Band Going to Accompany the Watch?
The patent deals with a speciality watch band which needs to be coupled to the watch body. This will make it possible for the cameras on the wristband to integrate themselves with the camera on the watch body. Now the question arises – how is the band going to be made available to the consumer? As of now, one of two things might happen. Either the band will be made into an accessory band which can be replaced as needed. Or, this band might be made into a standard band accompanying the Apple Watch.
Either way, it is too soon to tell as the production of the band hasn’t started yet. But once it does, the Apple Watch might just be THE device to have.