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The next Apple Watch may have a built-in camera

The Apple Watch hasn’t seen a hardware update since it was released thirteen months ago. But whenever the day for a face lift finally comes, there’s a good chance the Apple Watch will contain a built-in camera, if a recent patent from Apple is to be taken without a pinch of salt.

Inside a recent collection of documents published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a few small illustrations allude to future Apple Watch designs including a built-in camera.

Although the premise of the documents is a reference to pushing location-specific information to an Apple Watch, a tip-off in the form of a built-in camera is seen if you look closely enough. Specifically, Figure 2 within the document makes mention of a camera within the user interface of the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Camera Patent

Within the text of the document, Apple makes mention of “a compact digital camera that includes an image sensor such as a CMOS sensor and optical components (e.g. lenses) arranged to focus an image onto the image sensor, along with control logic operable to use the imaging components to capture and store still and/or video images.”

Although Apple doesn’t specify details about what the purpose of an onboard camera would be, as noted by Patently Apple, the documents mention that the camera could face outward so as to capture QR codes and other scannable input. Facing outward would also permit the camera to capture an image of the person wearing the watch.

It’ll be interesting to see whether or not this feature will be implemented in the next iteration of the Apple Watch. Unlike the iPhone’s consistent release schedule, Apple is yet to even hint at a release date for the next-generation smartwatch.

Whenever it does arrive though, this little tidbit lends credit to the rumors that it may very well have a built-in camera module for selfies with a flick of the wrist.