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Apple patents watch band with adjustable built-in camera

It wouldn't be fixed in place like on other smartwatches.
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Apple/USPTO

Companies have tried smartwatches with cameras built into their bands before (hello Galaxy Gear), but the fixed position usually leads to you contorting your wrist to get a good shot -- and you can forget about video chats. Apple might have a solution to the problem. The company just received a patent for an Apple Watch band whose built-in camera is designed to be positioned almost any way you like. It looks like one of the company's loop bands, but includes an extended segment with at least one camera on the end. You'd just have to pull, retract and twist this section to capture your ideal shot.

The concept allows for the possibility of cameras on both sides of the band, and might even allow for 360-degree imagery. There would be a number of ways to set off the cameras, too, including pinching the band, pressing a button on the band or tapping the screen.

This is a patent, not a product roadmap, so there's no guarantee you'll see this in a future Apple Watch. Rumors of a camera have been swirling around since 2015, and there are technical hurdles to deal wth like battery life and space limitations for the sensor. Strides in technology could make this more practical than it has been in the past, however. And let's not forget that Apple is clearly eager to make its smartwatch independent of the iPhone. Cameras could easily reduce the need to carry a handset with you, whether you want to take a quick snapshot or answer a FaceTime call.

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