A patent filed by Apple suggests it could include a camera on a future version of the Apple Watch. Patent application number 14774642, filed in 2013, covers a range of ideas, including a camera for selfies or scanning QR codes, and the possibility of fixed focal length and zoom lenses.

The key phrase to note in the patent is: 'Zero, one, or more cameras can be provided, depending on implementation,' making clear that the company is casting its net as widely as possible, to allow it to include all, some or none of these ideas in future watches.

The block diagram from the patent clearly shows that Apple has considered including a camera as part of the watch's user interface. The patent suggests cameras could be included along the sides or on the front of the watch's face.

The patent covers the idea of a camera mounted on the side or top edge of the device for taking photographs or scanning QR codes. Another implementation suggests a camera that faces towards the user, allowing the shooting of selfies (or, though it's not mentioned, streaming video for Facetime communication).

The patent is careful to include both the idea of having a fixed focal length lens and of including a zoom lens with autofocus. As always with patents, none of this means Apple will include a camera in the next or future generations of watches, just that they want to protect the idea of doing so and want to protect all the possible implementations it has thought of.