A new Apple patent reveals an Apple Watch with a flat Digital Crown could be made to include an optical sensor to register tactile gestures. Think of how the iPod went from having a physically rotating wheel and mechanical buttons to non-movable Click Wheel with a capacitive touch surface.
“Portable electronic devices, such as watches, have become increasingly popular,” says Apple in “Watch with Optical Sensor for User Input”, US Patent No. 20200033815,” and the features and functionality provided by portable electronic devices continue to expand to meet the needs and expectations of many consumers.”
“Many devices include input components, such as crowns, that receive and detect tactile input from a user during operation,” it continues. “Such input components may be prominently featured on the device for ready access by a user.”
It’s possible that future Digital Crowns will feature this sensor specifically so that they no longer have to rotate physically. By being a flat touch panel, they could also free up internal space for other components.
MacDailyNews Take: Makes sense and even though the Digital Crown is extremely well-built and robust, a non-moveable Digital Crown would likely be even more reliable. Plus, without it sticking out, it would eliminate errant presses that Apple Watch users sometimes get from bending their wrists, adjusting clothing, etc.