Mobile

Color-coordinated Apple Watch faces could be automated in future


If your commitment to fashion runs as far as color-coordinated Apple Watch faces to match your band or outfit, a future Watch may be able to automate the process.

A newly granted Apple patent describes how a future model could have a sensor embedded beneath the display, which can detect the color or a band or item of clothing, and then adjust the Watch face to match …

Fashionistas can, of course, buy a range of Apple Watch bands to match their outfits – and can also choose from a range of watch face designs and colors.

But that’s a somewhat time-consuming process if you want to have the colors match your outfit of the day, and you’re also limited to the color palettes offered in the Watch app.

Apple’s patent (spotted by Apple Insider) describes two improvements to this process:

  • Matching any color, not just fixed palettes
  • Setting the color automatically, using an image sensor

Here’s how the patent describes it:

An electronic device such as a watch may include a display and a light sensor located behind the display. The light sensor may be used to measure the color of external objects.

During color sampling operations, the display may emit light towards the external object in front of the display while the light sensor gathers color measurements. The display may emit light of different colors and the light sensor may detect an amount of reflected light for each color, which in turn may be used to determine the color of the external obiect.

The control circuitry may use a watch-band-specific algorithm to determine the color of watch bands and may use a clothing-specific algorithm to determine the color of clothing. The control circuitry may display the color on the display so that the face of the watch matches the user’s clothing or matches the user’s watch band.

In other words, point your Watch face at your shirt, blouse, jacket, dress, or similar, and it will shine a series of colored lights, and use the reflected light from these to determine the color. The Watch will then automatically change the color of the current face to match.

Alternatively, you can point the Watch face at an Apple Watch band, and it will do the same with that. With some bands, you’d have to remove it from the Watch to take the reading, but if you’re taking that much trouble over your color coordination, then you probably have a bunch of bands that you swap out anyway.

With official Apple bands, the app ought to be able to identify it and then select a perfect match, which is likely the reason for a band-specific algorithm. For clothing, it’s likely that you’ll need to exercise some care with lighting to get a good match.

Of course, we include our usual Apple patent disclaimer: The company patents a great many things, and only ever implements a fraction of them. I can’t see this one having enough appeal on its own to justify the extra hardware, but there are certainly other things Apple could do with an embedded light sensor that might create enough reasons to do it.

I freely admit to using a white Simple face to match my white sport loop band and white ceramic Watch, but not sure I would go quite this far… Indeed, I can’t imagine there’s too much overlap between 9to5Mac readers, and people who would use this feature, but feel free to prove me wrong in the comments!

Photo: Taylor Beach/Unsplash

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