Wrist-based devices have been part of our science fiction for decades, but when the Apple Watch was launched in 2015 it felt like we’d taken a significant step towards the future. Taking calls? Check. Measure your heart rate? Check. Takes photos and videos? Well, no.
It wasn’t as though the Apple Watch didn’t have enough features at launch, but when the Series 2 was unveiled this year, it might have disappointed some to see the device positioned more towards the fitness industry. The second generation received better waterproofing and a GPS chip, but it didn’t contain a camera, as many hoped for.
However, a manufacturer is adding this functionality via a new Watch band, and according to its specs, it seems to have integrated so well with the Watch that it’s remarkable this technology has been delivered (or even allowed) by a third-party.
The band is called CMRA and in a nutshell, it’s an Apple Watch band that attaches to any size of Apple Watch, including the original Watch, Series 1 and Series 2. It has a 2MP front-facing camera to allow the wearer to capture selfies, and an 8MP outward facing camera for capturing action in front of the wearer – both cameras can capture photos and videos.
Check out the video below to see it in action:
So, a little more on its specs. The band has 8GB of on-board flash memory, meaning it can capture a significant amount of material, but can also sync with the Photos app on the iPhone using the CMRA app on the Apple Watch.
In regards to its battery life, it’s claimed to capture 100s of photos or around 30 minutes of video per charge, which should be enough for a day’s activity. But is this just another device that needs charging? Technically, yes, but we think CMRA’s solution here is a key selling point – the device comes with a dual charging dock that can charge the Watch and the strap at the same time. Considering the Apple Watch needs charging every night anyhow, it won’t require any more effort than is currently needed.
The camera has been manufactured with Sony sensors and is designed to included tilt balancing, lens corrections, noise reductions and pixel optimization. Videos and photos can be shared directly from the Watch, or synced and edited with the iPhone.
Whether Apple will add camera functionality to its device anytime soon remains to be seen. If it continues to focus on its fitness ambitions, a huge chunk of its audience might be disappointed in the long run. It’s likely Apple will want to include a camera on the device itself rather than a strap, which could effect its size or portability. However, the inclusion of dual cameras on a strap is quite the coup. CMRA almost certainly will not be the last company to offer camera functionality to Apple Watch users, but it’s the first and judging by the output they’re sharing, and if the design delivers its promises, it’s set the bar pretty high.
The CMRA strap will ship in spring 2017, but can be pre-ordered right now. The MSRP is $249, but pre-orders in November will cost just $149, and remaining pre-orders will be available for $199. Find out more and pre-order at getcmra.com