Apple Watch cries out for a camera

“With the introduction of cellular connectivity in Apple Watch Series 3, it’s now more convenient than ever to leave your phone at home for quick trips and during workouts without consequence – for the most part. When you want to snap that quick photo or have a FaceTime video call, the Watch still won’t cut it,” Michael Steeber writes for 9to5Mac. “This is the one of the largest remaining friction points in a truly independent Apple Watch experience.”

“Apple has been exploring the idea of a camera on your wrist for years. As early as June 2016, the company applied for a patent covering an image sensor in the Apple Watch. Since day 1, watchOS has shipped with an iPhone camera remote app, allowing control of your iPhone’s shutter within Bluetooth range,” Steeber writes. “Third parties have made attempts as well, such as CMRA, an Apple Watch band with a camera built in. So far, none of these implementations have made for an entirely seamless or elegant solution.”

“It’s hard to talk about a wrist-mounted camera without drawing comparisons to Dick Tracy, as video calling is probably the most obvious use for an Apple Watch camera,” Steeber writes. “Brief FaceTime video calls not only make for an impressive technology demo, but thanks to an LTE connection and the hands-free nature of the Apple Watch, it may prove even more convenient a device than an iPhone to make video calls on.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Since Apple Watch Series 2 gave us GPS and freed us from having to schlep along our iPhones on runs, we can’t count the times we’ve wished we had a camera on our Apple Watches. Look at that sunset! Look at that ocean! Look at that three-legged one-eyed dog!

Things like that, not so much the Dick Tracy FaceTime stuff (but that would be cool, too), are why we’re so interested in things like the CMRA Dual-Camera Band for Apple Watch.

Well, Series 2 gave us GPS. Series 3 gave us LTE. Maybe Series 4 will finally add a camera or – dare we dream? – cameras, possibly via an Apple Smartband?

Hello, Dick Tracy! CMRA band delivers two HD cameras to Apple Watch – November 2, 2016


  1. Wasn’t that one of a multitude of androids biggie mistakes?
    Let’s face it ppl, you will find it impossible to leave your pocket computer…. w. ✨Camera✨ behind, for just the, top of the line, smartwatch? Apple Watch compliments the iPhone in a powerful way. Is it a total replacement for, the smartphont? I think not….., yet.

  2. What? More complexity? Another drain on the battery? Even if it happened, hardly anyone would be satisfied because the camera wouldn’t be up to current smartphone standards. Please just leave the AppleWatch as it is until battery life can be improved by another 30%. Video calls, seriously?

    I’m sure almost no average consumer is crying out for a camera on the AppleWatch.

    1. I don’t like the idea of a camera in Watch and believe that Apple is unlikely to do it, but if they were to do it, there are two main types of picture taking that need to be addressed. One is pictures of stuff that you encounter while you’re out, the other is selfies.

      For pictures of stuff that you encounter ( such as an amazing sunset or a cute dog ) a good place for the camera would be to face out from the side of the bezel at the 12 o’clock position and you could compose the picture by looking down at the screen; older photographers will recall reflex cameras where you view them in a similar manner.

      Alternatively, if the strap design allowed it, you could have a tiny camera within the strap on the opposite side of your wrist to the watch ( near the spot where they check your pulse ). That may be more likely than you might imagine because Apple’s patent application for blood pressure measurement does involve having a sensor right there. However you would then to be a contortionist if you wanted to take a selfie and the camera were facing out of the top of the bezel.

      The best place to locate the camera for a selfie would be either behind the screen or within the bezel, but facing the user. As Apple is trying to minimise bezels, I wouldn’t expect to see a front facing camera within the bezel. With a camera aligned to face the wearer, taking pictures of the amazing sunset or that cute dog would be awkward as you wouldn’t be able to see much of the screen without being in shot.

      If … and it’s a big “if”, Apple we’re to offer a camera with Watch, the only solution that would make sense to me would be to offer it as part of a special wrist strap, with the camera on the opposite side to the watch. You could then take photos of things you see by holding the Watch up to your face, or you could take selfies by holding the inside of your wrist to your face. It might be necessary to make the image auto-rotate to be the right way up and auto-level too, as holding your wrist directly in front of your face isn’t very comfortable if you must keep it exactly horizontal or vertical. Whatever you do, it’s not going to be a very flattering angle or distance to take a portrait.

      Having a camera as an accessory solves the problem of operating in places where cameras are banned and of course it’s an optional extra, so customers choose whether to have it or not. If the camera wrist band were distinctly different to any other band, it would make it more difficult to film covertly without being noticed.

  3. If you want to take a pic of the sunset on a run get an iPhone holder to strap on your arm. Will be close for fitting earphones, etc.

    In a lot of government offices you have to leave a camera equipped phone in your car – discovered that the first time I went to a VA office.

    Far more important for growing the watch market is to complete their R&D in the Health environment. PulseOx, Glucose levels, BP, EKG connected. Far more opportunities than the watch based camera.

  4. This will never happen. Face time on a watch? I use every now and then on my laptop. The only times I use face time on my iPhone are the (awkward) few seconds when I accidentally butt-dial someone. Imagine the accidental face time which could happen with a watch, say at the urinal?

  5. People don’t want much do they its not long ago that the whole idea of a watch of this nature seemed like science fiction now we want a usable camera in it too. It will come but let it come when it is practical rather than a gimmick. Even then I do agree it does feel a little creepy though probably less so than the glasses where you are conscious of the fact any time they are looking at you they could be recording you.

  6. No! I absolutely do NOT want a camera on my Apple Watch. There are already enough privacy concerns out there. We don’t need a camera on a device that’s never hidden away in a pocket during private situations. Come on, what if you forget to hit the swim button when you wear it into the shower and end up accidentally live streaming nudes and embarrassing singing to your entire social circle.

  7. The only reason it could be useful is for FaceTime when you don’t have your phone but even then the screen is so small might as well just use voice. The last thing I want is to try and take photos from my wrist. Do we really need to take selfies that bad??

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