The current Apple Watch offers both voice controls and a touchscreen display, but future versions could offer another way to control the device. A new patent from Apple reveals how gesture controls might make it possible to control your smartwatch with a few quick, specific finger movements.
The patent was filed in 2014 and was approved on Thursday. It details plans for “motion and gesture input from a wearable device.” Basically, that means the device would use extra sensors, potentially included in the wristband, to track your hand, arm and finger movements. Those gestures could then be translated into commands for the device to carry out.
Apple also offers a list of specific examples. If you want to makes a call you could extend your thumb and pinky finger to imitate the shape of an old-fashioned phone. Other possible gestures could reject an incoming call, control the volume, mute the speakers, scroll the next page, find your phone by activating the ringer, or even unlock your car door. The patent also suggests that the same sensors might recognize and translate sign language.
There’s no guarantee Apple will make good on these ideas, but we wouldn’t be totally shocked to see some sort of gesture controls show up in a future version of the Apple Watch.