• New Apple Watch may ditch the mechanical crown
  • Touch-sensitive sensors replace the physical crown
  • Apple files patent for this new technology

Apple Watch has come a long way, and the current Series 5 has some marked external differences. However, a new patent has surfaced that points out a major physical change that Apple Watch enthusiasts can find in the future series.

According to the new patent, Apple can get rid of the mechanical crown and replace it with a flat sensor. The mechanical crown has been an integral part of the Apple Watch, which is used for scrolling through text messages, the menu, and switching between apps.

In the new patent filed Thursday, Jan. 30, there is a watch with an optical sensor for user input. “The input components provide an ability for a user to interact with the watch in a manner similar to how a user would interact with a crown that is rotatable and/or translatable. The user can provide motions and gestures near the input component that the input component can detect and interpret and user inputs to control an aspect of the watch,” the patent text read.

The flat Digital Crown is different from a physical one as the former uses sensors to detect any form of rotary movement. The Tech Explorist noted that chances of accidentally damaging or breaking the mechanical crown could be avoided completely with a digital crown in place.

Moreover, the mechanical crown can take up space, and by replacing it, Apple can make space for a bigger battery in the compartment. With the introduction of a Digital Crown, Apple Watch will have flat sides. Users will have to make swiping gestures to input commands. The patent also suggests that engineers can put in multiple sensors like a proximity sensor configured to detect a finger presence within a distance of the optical sensor.

Apple has not made any official announcement if they plan to introduce this feature in Apple Watch 6 series, which is rumored to be out in September 2020.

Apple Watch leather straps
These Apple Watch leather straps will give a style boost to any of your outfits. AFP / Johannes EISELE