Apple fans are eagerly waiting for the next-gen Apple Watch Series 5, which is expected to debut next month. The first 5G Apple Watch could still be a few years away. The Cupertino company will reportedly launch its first 5G iPhone in 2020. Apple would not want to stop there considering 5G connectivity is the future. So, we wouldn’t be surprised to see 5G-compatible Apple Watches and iPads in the future. A new Apple Watch patent suggests the tech giant is already working on 5G smartwatches.
While Samsung, OnePlus, and many other vendors have launched 5G smartphones, they have found it difficult to accommodate the millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G antennas into phones smaller than 6-inch display sizes and below 8mm in thickness. Folks at PatentlyApple have spotted a new Apple Watch patent that shows how the future Apple Watch models could pack the mmWave 5G antennas.
The patent titled Electronic Devices Having Millimeter Wave Ranging Capabilities was filed with the USPTO in February last year, and published last week. Apple is miniaturizing the Apple Watch components to squeeze the 5G antennas that could be used for 5G connectivity or a faster WiFi 802.11ad standard. Apple wants to support both mmWave and non-mmWave radio frequencies in the future Apple Watch models.
Apple says in its patent filing that the wireless circuitry could include antennas arranged “in a phased antenna array for conveying first radio frequency signals at a first frequency between 10 GHz and 300 Ghz,” which is mmWave signals at mmWave frequency. It could also include a non-mmWave antenna “for conveying second radio-frequency signals at a second frequency below 10 GHz.”
The new Apple Watch patent describes placing mmWave as well as non-mmWave antennas under the screen or on the inner side walls of the Watch. The company could also use beam-forming technologies to ensure that the radio signals are pointed outward. It would enable the wearable device to deliver blazing-fast data transmission speeds.
Industry experts speculate that the Apple Watch could one day become fully capable of replacing your iPhone. The current Apple Watch models already offer LTE connectivity, but they still rely on the iPhone for a lot of things. The future Watch models could be paired with Apple’s rumored AR glasses to eliminate the need for an iPhone.
Though the new Apple Watch patent is proof that the tech giant is seriously considering 5G for the future Watch models, there is no guarantee that the feature would make it to Apple Watch. Apple patents dozens of technologies every year, and only a small number of them make it to the final products. The company is preparing to launch 5G iPhones next year.
The future Apple Watch models could also have built-in cameras for FaceTime calls and photography. Back in June, the USPTO granted a patent to Apple that describes incorporating a camera on smartwatches. Apple realizes the limitations of a smartwatch camera. You can’t bend your arm in every imaginable position to capture photos, take selfies, or make FaceTime calls. It’s also pretty awkward to bend your arm at ridiculous angles in public.
The Apple Watch camera patent describes placing the camera on the band instead of the watch. The band would house two cameras facing in opposite directions. Apple uses hidden optical cables inside the band to send picture data to the Watch.
The camera sensors will be integrated at the end of the flexible band, meaning you can twist and rotate it to take pictures from any angle without having to bend your wrist. Users will be able to pull out a section of the strap upward to capture a picture of whatever is in front of them. You can fold it back to take a selfie or make FaceTime calls.
It’s a long shot, but if it happens, it could allow users to leave their iPhones behind and still be able to make video calls and take pictures. In fact, a smartwatch could be more useful than a smartphone for taking pictures in certain situations such as when you go swimming, surfing, running, hiking, or snowboarding.