It’s nothing new that companies file hundreds to thousands of patents a year. While it may lead to such silliness as the patent wars that went on between Apple and Samsung, it can also give us common folk a peek into what companies are possibly up to. Apple is no different, as the company files a number of patents each year, but there are a few that suggest that we could maybe, just possibly, see something innovative from the tech giant.
I say maybe, in the light of the Apple Television that never was. Even so, there are seven patents that suggest that we may see something pretty cool from the company sometime in the future.
1.) An Apple TV remote with Touch ID:
This patent centers around the idea that “at least one sensor configured to detect a biometric characteristic of a user.” It goes on to list fingerprints, iris, retina or voice sensors as possible options. This could mean that the new remote may control more than just Apple TV boxes themselves. Though Apple has been flirting with the idea of beefing up the remote anyway. The remote could potentially control other things like thermostats, heaters, fans, security systems, etc, as Apple looks to bolster its HomeKit platform.
2.) A headset display
While Apple has been vocal about its lack of interest in a Google Glass competitor, the company has had a patent for a headset display for about seven years and since then has bolstered that patent with a number of new features. What we see is a touch sensor and a speaker that have been added to the head-mounted carrier. A speaker has been added to the “eye glass temple” as well, along with tools that can detect a user’s head movements. Not only that but a camera has been added as well as the ability to integrate a telephone with it. Given that Facebook, HTC/Valve and Samsung are working on virtual reality, it’s not a stretch to think that Apple is working on its own version of the new technology.
3.) iPen/Stylus Support
While rumors of an iPad Pro have long been whispered, stylus support in what could very well possibly be an iPen is something new. Apple owning a number of stylus patents isn’t new, but a recent filing in July shows just how the device will work. In this case, it shows how users would be able to continuously write in the display area without having to erase characters when they mess up. With iOS 9 allowing users to take advantage of the Notes app to sketch out ideas, adding writing capabilities isn’t such a leap.
4.) iPhone Logo that’s a Touch ID
There are a number of companies toying with the idea of adding a fingerprint scanner to their devices. Apple has already done so and done it pretty well. However, unlike its current form, Apple could move the Touch ID from the home button and around back, using the Apple Logo. While Google’s own Nexus 6 toyed with the idea of such a placement for a fingerprint scanner, Apple beat the search giant to the punch. Apple’s been looking at trying to get rid of the home button and just such a placement could help the company do that.
5.) A user-interface with motion tracking
In June, Apple received patent approval for an invention that would allow a video camera to track the motions of a user, giving that person freedom of their hands while using said invention. Navigation could then be done with simply movements of the head. This tech could tie in with Apple’s headset display patents we discussed earlier.
6.) Flexible phones
The idea of flexible phones is nothing new. Both Samsung and LG are working on displays that bend and flex easily. However, while we’ve seen a number of devices with curved or screens that have a little bit of give to them, Apple’s patent suggests screens, components and batteries that would be able to be folded in half.
7.) A device that would compete against GoPro
Apple modified a patent in April it acquired from Kodak that shows how a watch or small device could have a camera added to it. This patent mostly focuses on the camera’s ability to grab images through a number of systems that could include a wireless remote. Not only that but the patent shows a number of different ways to collect images that include still, time-lapse or slow-motion. The reason that this suggests Apple is working on a GoPro competitor is that in the invention background section, Apple points out a number of flaws in GoPro’s cameras.
We should point out that these patents and the suggestions of their respective uses is strictly speculation. It could be that we see a number of applications in future devices from the Cupertino company, but we also might not. Apple’s held a number of these patterns for years without acting on them and it could mean the company is just attempting to keep its portfolio strong. However, even in doing so, the company shows that it still has interest in a number of these areas, and that in itself, is pretty exciting.
What about you, the reader? What are your thoughts on these patents? Do any of them catch your eye? Let us know on any of our social media accounts or in the comment section below.Source: The Street