Flashlights have become an integral feature on smartphones, offering both camera flash support and a torch function. However, the concept of a dedicated flashlight on smartwatches has remained niche. Apple is reportedly seeking to change that by securing a patent for an external flashlight to be incorporated into Apple Watch bands.
As reported by Apple Insider, the US patent application reveals a modular light assembly designed for wearable devices. Detailed diagrams depict an external flashlight module positioned on the edge of Apple Watch bands near the watch body.
According to the patent, the modular light assembly can be controlled, activated, or deactivated using both a dedicated switch and controls on the watch display. To minimize battery drain on the watch, the external flashlight might feature its own dedicated battery. Additionally, considering the water-resistant nature of Apple Watch models, the external light module could incorporate liquid-resistant features, such as seals or O-rings, to protect sensitive internal components.
The directional nature of the external flashlight is emphasized, casting light perpendicular to the plane defined by the watch display and parallel to the axis defined by the user’s hand when passing through the watch band.
While current Apple Watch models include an integrated flashlight feature, it illuminates the display with high-brightness white light, which is not powerful enough to illuminate large dark areas beyond the immediate surroundings. An external flashlight module with its own battery would provide an effective light source in low-light conditions.
Although the patent application has been published, the timeline for when this flashlight feature might be implemented in an Apple Watch model remains uncertain.
Apple has previously explored innovations for its Apple Watch bands. Earlier this year, a patent was granted for a system capable of identifying specific bands and responding with tailored functions, such as modifying settings or customizing the user interface. Additionally, Apple has obtained patents for technology designed to limit the viewing angle of iPhone and Mac displays, enhancing privacy by restricting snooping from others.
As Apple continues to innovate in the wearable technology space, the addition of an external flashlight could bring a practical enhancement to the Apple Watch, catering to users in various low-light scenarios.