Apple has a host of patents to its name, and rifling through them can offer some fascinating insights into the potential future of technology and the possibilities that are open to the company as it executes its vision for the future convergence culture.
We’ve taken a look at some of the most recently published Apple patents and chosen six of the most exciting to tell you all about.
1. iSpecs: an advanced head-mounted display system for the iPhone or iPod
This system (above) may even host its own video camera or be able to communicate with the camera that’s already inside the iPod touch or iPhone. The system will have some physical controls but other controls may be set off by voice commands and/or head movements.
2. Apple’s advanced 3D widgets plan
This seems to be something else: Essentially the patent describes multi-functional 3D widgets which can be lifted or rotated. Combined with Apple’s advanced touch technologies, these could be the closest things yet to 3D.
3. How much do you love your heart?
The principle here is pretty simple, and if you tie it up with all these emerging payment systems for the iPhone OS, this is a pretty smart approach. This patent describes a way to build heart sensors into the devices. Devices then note your heartbeat to determine a user’s identity, This also means devices will be able to seamlessly switch between the relevant identities when using shared computers, iPods or other Apple device.
4. The invisible Mac
Apple watchers know that company CEO, Steve Jobs, really dislikes cables and buttons. This is likely to drive imaginative notions of just how Apple will implement this patent, which describes invisible and light-forming MacBook controls. What could this mean? For example, your keyboard may be invisible until you put your fingers on the thing, and controls could easily be nested without making the machine look cluttered.
5. Touch me, feel me
Here’s another one – an obscure patent which points to a touch screen iMac, MacBook, or more…The description is buried inside a description of another patent. The description supports two of Apple’s January patent applications regarding a touch screen iMac and MacBook.
6. iPhone controlling everything
There’s a good deal of speculation that Apple may introduce iPhones equipped with RFID chips, a basic building block for near field communications. What this means is that your iPhone could be easily used for secure payment systems, but combined with other patents – the heart monitor above, an earlier iKey patent, or this one describing a way by which your iPhone can become the ultimate remote control. Stop to think on this for a moment and the reason for the bitter battles within the smartphone industry for market share is clear: mobile devices will be the central device for a users interactions in an incalculable number of directions.
Summing up, exploring Apple patents are always an interesting way to spend your time.