The Apple Watch Series 4 could come with a Force Touch Digital Crown, according to reports. Apple has detailed a ‘force-detecting input structure’ in a new patent discovered by the guys at Patently Apple.
Patent application number 20180024683, published by Fletcher Rothkopf, Director of Product Design, Technology Investigation at Apple, details:
“An input mechanism, such as a crown, detects amounts of applied force. In various examples, an assembly including an input mechanism has an enclosure; a stem coupled to the enclosure such that the stem is rotatable, translatable, and transversely movable with respect to the enclosure; a sensor, coupled between the stem and the housing, to which force is transferred when the stem moves with respect to the housing; and a processing unit coupled to the sensor. The processing unit is operable to determine a measurement of the force, based on a signal from the sensor.”
Force Touch works is already used in Apple Watches but on the display. It’s a gesture-based sensor technology that’s able to detect when you’re tapping on the screen or pressing down on it with more force, thus unlocking the ability to access additional functionality. It’s currently employed on all native Apple Watch apps including Music, Maps and Workout – as well as some third-party offerings too.
With current Apple Watch models, the Digital Crown can be tapped, double tapped, held down to access Siri, or rotated to zoom in and out of the display – or to unlock the Watch if you have a swim-friendly model. Adding Force Touch to the equation will enhance the control options developers can implement into their apps.
The next Apple Watch, likely to be announced in September and on sale before Christmas – if Apple’s previous Watch launch cycles are anything to go by – is also purported to come packing advanced sleep tracking (as a result of the Cupertino’s acquisition of Beddit) and, according to Bloomberg’s sources, will feature an electrocardiogram (EKG) heart rate monitor – a method of reading the biometric information that is common in the medical industry. The EKG monitor would be activated by squeezing an Apple Watch’s frame with two fingers, sending a current to the user’s heart and checking for any abnormalities.