The US Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent that features an Apple Watch that is missing its most iconic physical feature - the digital crown.
Patent number 20200033815 is titled Watch With Optical Sensor For User Input and would allows for touch and gesture control via a flatter sensor.
Part of the abstract from the front page of the patent confirms this.
"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 goes onto explain how the replacement component would simulate user interactions with the sensor in a way similar to a crown. This is also show in Figure 9 within the patent:
While the patent has only just been published, the file date was July 26, 2019. It's unclear if or when this change will be put into production and we certainly can't confirm whether it will appear on the Apple Watch 6.
It's certainly a bold move. As Apple and other major phone manufacturers lean more on gesture control, it stands to reason that connected watches would follow suit. But the digital crown is such an integral part of the Apple Watch aesthetic - are fans ready to let go of it yet?
Between this and rumours of a wireless-only iPhone, it'll be interesting to see what September 2020 holds for Apple.
The Apple Watch Series 5 is now out and while it's not a major upgrade to the Series 4, it has gotten some cool new features such as an always-on display, call blocking and period tracking. One upgrade in particular that's gotten some press coverage is the automatic emergency SOS calling when the device detects a fall, which now works when you're overseas too. Here's how it works.