Apple has filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark for the next-generation Apple Watch. Patent no 20200033815 is titled Watch With Optical Sensor For User Input. The patent shows that Apple Watch could ditch the current Digital Crown for an optical one.
Here is what the patent abstract says.
“A watch can include a user input component that employs an optical sensor to receive input from a user. The input components provide an ability for a user to interact with the watch in a manner similar to how a user would interact with a crown that is rotatable and/or translatable.”
The abstract explains how the crown could feature an optical sensor to register tactile gestures. It is possible that the future iterations of Apple Watch no longer come with a physical-digital crown. Sure, the digital crown works fine and there is no real need to replace it with an optical crown. But there are times when we accidentally press the digital crown. Plus, being a flat digital crown means, Apple could save some space to accommodate some other components.
“The motions and gestures provided by the user can be directly detected with optical systems of the input component, so that the number of moving parts are reduced and space within the watch is more efficiently utilised,” says Apple. “While providing these benefits, the input component provides a user experience that simulates interactions with a crown that is rotatable and/or translatable.”
Apple files a number of patents throughout the year, so that doesn’t mean the company will release the Apple Watch with a flat digital crown. Also, you need to remember that Apple never removes or adds a feature until unless it makes some sense.
But we can certainly say that Apple Watch Series 6 is coming later this year. Full details are not available, but some reports suggest that the next-generation Apple Watch might feature a microLED display that will be capable of producing impressive blacks and excellent contrast ratios. We’re also hearing that Apple Watch Series 6 could include Face ID, a feature that is already available on select iPhones and iPads.