The Digital Crown is one of the features of the Apple Watch. With it, users can interact with the watch without touching the gadget’s display. However, judging by the latest Apple patents, in one of the following Apple Watch models, the company may abandon the physical Digital Crown and replace it with optical sensors.
According to the patent, the removal of the physical wheel will not affect the functionality of the watch in any way. With touch sensors, users will still be able to control the interface. The ECG function will also be preserved. The patent states that optical sensors will measure heart rate, monitor breathing, determine the level of oxygen in the blood and blood pressure.
At the same time, the rejection of the physical Digital Crown will help free up additional space in the watch case. Engineers will be able to use it to increase the battery or add new sensors that will expand the capabilities of the Apple Watch. The patent also states that reducing the number of moving parts should help extend the life of smartwatches.
A source: Patently Apple