Remember the long-rumored FaceTime camera that we would see in a first-generation Apple Watch refresh earlier this year that never surfaced? Well, a new Apple patent is leading analysts to believe that Apple may very well implement an ultimate selfie camera in the Apple Watch 2. The patent, uncovered by patent site Patently Apple, shows that Apple intends to add two new buttons and an ultimate selfie camera to the Apple Watch in the wrist wearable's future. The patent was filed back in February 2016 and was just approved and published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for Apple on June 16th. Patent drawings can be seen below.
First, let's talk about these two new buttons. From what we know, the new buttons could be used to control features on the watch, such as app shortcuts (or for feature retrieval like settings, etc.), something similar to Samsung's Active Key on the Galaxy S7 Active that lets users tap the button to quick launch an app. With that said, Apple is calling for two buttons, with much of the discussion centering around location-specific content and supplying that to the users when he or she is in a specific location. For example, if you have a gift certificate for engine fuel, the Apple Watch could detect when you're at a gas station and automatically bring the fuel gift certificate to the main display of the Apple Watch so that you'd quickly have access to the gift certificate without fumbling for it.
Finally, Apple wants to make its smartwatch a social media bragging right by implementing an ultimate selfie camera to the Apple Watch (perhaps the Apple Watch 2). The ultimate selfie camera (could be more than 1, Apple states in the patent) could allow users to not only take photos of themselves up-close (which we presume they could then post to social media) but also use the selfie camera for face detection security in the event a user wanted to use his or her facial appearance to verify identity and unlock his or her Apple Watch. Could it be the case that Apple intends to make the lock screen more of a "thing" with the Apple Watch 2 than it is now? Maybe.
This isn't the first patent we've seen from Apple this week. Apple also received a patent on June 9th for a curved wearable display, hinting that it may soon bring curved displays to not only the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in 2017 but also the Apple Watch 3 (possibly) as well. We've been told, though, that the Apple Watch 2 may prove to be an "S" refresh year where Apple bumps up the internals but little else, but Apple continues to file patents for smartwatch features such as sign language gesture recognition, smart modular bands, or capabilities that go beyond wrist needs such as a refrigerator magnet or protection stand.