Next-Gen Apple Watch May Come With a Joystick-Like Crown

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Apple Watch boasts a great variety of features and functionalities. It is already equipped with voice control, touchscreen, side control buttons, as well as the Digital Crown features. The currently-available crown can be used as a contact point for ECG features, in addition to some rotational settings. However, the Digital Crown may be improved with the next-gen Apple Watch and allow more controls, according to Patently Apple.

The publication noticed an approved Apple patent that was titled “Capacitive gap sensor ring for an electronic watch,” which was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Digital Crown in the next-gen Apple Watch could be used as a directional controller or a joystick. The patent also looks into a new method to develop the crown so that it can be moved in different directions.

The Digital Crown will also sport a selection of capacitators and other electronic elements that will allow its agility and other features. Those elements will move one within another on the control shaft that will be locked in a socket or a ring. The crown could use the change of capacitance in those capacitors to detect the physical location of the internal element that connects to the outer version.

Using these settings the device could easily detect which direction the user is pressing the Digital Crown of the next-gen Apple Watch. There would also be a measurement system to detect which element of the central part of the shaft is in contact with the external element. That would help detect the turning of the crown when the user comes in contact with it. There would be several rows of capacitative elements which would help detect how deep the press is in the Digital Crown of the watch.

To completely reflect the performance of joysticks, the Digital Crown will ship with a return mechanism which would bring the central element of the shaft back to the center to prepare it for the next press from the user. Apple’s patent also proposes that the next-gen Apple Watch could have improvements in the user interface in the shape of the cursor, or other graphical element which would be manipulated by pressing the Digital Crown on the watch.

Even though this feature could revolutionize the use of the Apple Watch and give it more unique recognition in the market, approved patents aren’t a guarantee that the device will actually come in the watch anytime soon or at all. Nevertheless, we’re looking forward to the next-gen Apple Watch series.

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