As spotted by PatentlyApple, the company was granted a handful of patents this morning, all focused on bringing new tricks to the Watch by way of the band.
The first patent describes a sensor built into the Watch or the watch’s band that could use infrared to build a thermal image of your wrist and its identifying traits (like skin texture/arm hair) to identify who is wearing it — sort of like a fingerprint, but from your wrist.
Unlike most of Apple’s other devices, the Apple Watch doesn’t currently have any sort of built-in biometrics for unlocking — there’s no thumbprint sensor for Touch ID, or camera for Face ID. Unlocking your Apple Watch means poking at the screen to punch in a PIN (or, if you’ve configured it to unlock when you unlock your phone, doing that). A sensor setup like this could make the unlocking process automatic without the need to unlock your phone.