Apple wants to add a flashlight to future Apple Watches

Posted:
in Apple Watch

Forget the little light you get from the Apple Watch screen, Apple is researching how to get a brighter external one fitted to a Watch band.

External, directional light on an Apple Watch
External, directional light on an Apple Watch



Apple Watch already comes with a flashlight, it's just not as well known as the one in the iPhone. That's because in comparison to the iPhone's flashlight, Apple rather hides that the Watch has one too.

Press the side button on an Apple Watch and then swipe down the screen until you see an icon of a flashlight. Just tap it, and prepare to initially be disappointed.

That's because what happens when you do turn on the flashlight is that the whole Apple Watch face turns completely white (or flashing white, or red, for attracting help).

At that point, you're looking at the face and it seems practically feeble. But that's because Apple doesn't want to shine a bright light into your eyes.

If you turn your wrist away, and you're in a dark enough area, you will see the light brighten considerably after a few moments. It's still not exactly blinding, and you are having to hold your arm at a funny angle to shine the light where you want, but it works well.

But seemingly not well enough for Apple.

For the company has been researching an alternative Watch flashlight, and the details are in a newly-granted patent application called "Modular Light Assembly For A Wearable Device."

This proposes ignoring the on-screen flashlight, and instead fitting a real one to the Apple Watch. It would go on the band, positioned close to the Watch chassis, and shine wherever you point, "separate from the display of the wearable device."

"Put another way," says Apple, "light sources..., when illuminated, generate visible light cast in a direction that is parallel, or at least substantially parallel, to an axis defined by a user's appendage (not shown) when the appendage passes through band."

Breakdown of what looks less like a flashlight, more like a sonic screwdriver
Breakdown of what looks less like a flashlight, more like a sonic screwdriver



As ever with a patent application, the detail is all about how something could be done, and there is little about why you would do it. This time, though, there is a brief mention of a specific benefit, or at least a possible one if the light has its own battery.

"[When] the modular light sources includes a dedicated (i.e., separate) battery," says Apple, "the wearable device is less susceptible to the display draining the wearable device battery."

So we could have a brighter flashlight, it could be that we would be more usefully able to aim it where we want. And it might not drain the battery.

The patent application is credited to two inventors, including Daniel J. Hiemstra, who previously worked on a flat-edge design for the Apple Watch.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    xgmanxgman Posts: 159member
    good, cause you now need it to be able to see the dimly lit display at night.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 7
    XedXed Posts: 2,489member
    This is simply a small flashlight that attaches to your Apple Watch. I'm wondering what about this is unique enough to be patented. These have been around for many years for a variety of products, albeit larger than is shown in the patent.

    https://gearward.com/products/watch-flashlight
    darkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    I’ve woken to dead Watch due to using screenlight to find can in night and falling asleep before turning it off. I’ve sent comments to a Mapple that it should turn off after inactivity, but perhaps the emergency flasher aspect is reason for leaving it this way. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    CLS9CLS9 Posts: 6member
    I wouldn't have any use for this. Besides being clunky, it would likely cost a small fortune. Between my Apple watch screen light, iPhone flashlight, and the little dollar store light thingy I've clipped to my key ring, I'm covered.
    darkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 1,146member
    Xed said:
    This is simply a small flashlight that attaches to your Apple Watch. I'm wondering what about this is unique enough to be patented. These have been around for many years for a variety of products, albeit larger than is shown in the patent.

    https://gearward.com/products/watch-flashlight
    Yep, yet another garbage patent that should have been rejected for being obvious to the average village idiot, let alone someone "skilled in the art".
    williamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 7
    I can see this being useful on the Apple Watch Ultra because one of Ultra major selling points is for diving. Watch your diving levels and shine a light while you’re at it.
    edited December 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,345member
    I carry a small, but not that small, flashlight every day. It's generally not needed for work but it's often very handy in EDL. Often enough that I've needed it every time I've left it home even though when it's with me I need it less. Not cause and effect, just the odds.

    My Watch's flashlight is mapped to the Action button so it's handy but very floddy, short ranged and the Watch gets really warm quickly. Its use is short because I don't need to heat the battery. The flashlight isn't meant to be a primary feature.

    There's no getting around the bulk most any light would add to a Watch. A minor issue would be it hanging up a cuff. Being an Apple accessory it wouldn't be cheap. If it could be turned on and off with gestures it would be cost prohibitive but really cool.

    It will never see the light of day but if it did I'd at least check it out. The best flashlight is the one you have with you.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
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