Few companies have revolutionized people’s lives like Apple, with their stream of innovative products that force us to invent new categories as we struggle to remember how we lived without them. Apple file patents at a bewildering rate, even filing one for the unique method of construction of the glass steps in their NY store.
Steve Jobs himself was a prolific inventor and his name has appeared in over 317 patent applications, often involving phone and tablet technology. Apple’s patents offer a fascinating insight into the future the company hopes to build for us.
3d Gestures to control your iPhone
Future iterations of the iPhone look set to incorporate new technology that allows gestural control of your device. Much like the Xbox Kinect system, swipes of your hand or waving motions may all be recognized as distinct commands. A recent Apple patent sees them taking their own route to this type of interaction that will enable manipulation of text and graphical images in a Minority Report-style interface. Will we one day be able to wag our finger at our phone when we want to refuse a call?
Pint-sized projectors have become increasingly common in recent years, popping up in cameras to allowing shared viewing of photos without connecting to a screen. Apple is working on its own implementation, which would tie in beautifully with gestural controls, allowing for a physical method to interact with a projected image.
Apple’s purchase of fingerprint company Authentic last summer has fuelled rumors of biometric locking for future iPhones. A handful of patents show that Apple is exploring this idea that could be incorporated into the existing phone bezel and provide an extra layer of security for users.
Apple’s answer to many an iPhone user’s worst nightmare shows typical ingenuity. The nightmare of a cracked screen may become a thing of the past with a new technology called the tunable shock mount. By using the phone’s built in accelerometer, the shock mount inflates when it detects the phone is falling, while simultaneously sucking in the glass screen cover.
Many phone users miss the ability to touch physical buttons when typing on their phone, and are unable to compose messages with the speed that they are used to. Haptic Feedback uses vibrations to simulate the feel of typing on a real keyboard, offering a future where touch typists may be able to use their phone without needing to look at the screen.
The next phase of consumer 3D looks set to remove the need for 3D glasses by using eye tracking to calibrate the display to the user. Large format televisions are coming to market that can track up to nine viewers simultaneously; iPhone implementation would allow for immersive 3d interfaces and gaming.
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