Apple patents are known for being as nutty as a fruitcake, whether it’s for a simple bag (the frack?) to an iMac made entirely out of a slab of glass (fresh hell for the clumsies)—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Still, I came across some of the newly granted Apple patents while surfing the interwebs recently, and I gotta say: I. AM. EXCITED.
Allow me to walk you through some of them to show you why:
I know, I know. Foldable phones don’t have the best reputation. But what can I say? I believe in Apple. Maybe the first few tries will end up flopping on its belly, but if there’s one thing we know about Apple, it’s that they’re stubborn and always make it work in the end.
The patent shows a book-shaped style, quite similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, with multiple display layers and an innovative new hinge. From what I gathered, it’s quite likely that the hinge area of the device will be a different material that’s easier to bend than the rigid glass of the main display panels. The patent also describes a display that can be flexed both inwards and outwards. A different Apple patent depicting a rollable display shows Apple’s focus is on solving the hinge problem.
‘Air-Gesture’ detection in Macbook Pro
I gotta say, the prospect of being able to control a piece of tech by merely waving my fingers around in the air like some sort of magician sounds exciting.
A recent patent application shows that Apple is looking to build on the Macbook Pro’s Touch Bar by giving it the capacity to detect finger movements and hand gestures in the air (because touching and swiping is so 2016). Apple calls this piece of tech a ‘sensing strip’. So, instead of having to look at the Touch Bar to operate the volume controls, you may be able to do so by simply waving your hand over the sensing strip.
Eye tracker to keep your data private
Now this feels like something straight out of a James Bond movie. Apparently, this Apple patent aims to keep your data protected from snooping eyes by tracking where you look on the screen. The ‘gaze-dependent display encryption’ is intended to manipulate the contents displayed on your iPhone so that only you, the active user, knows what’s actually being shown. The remainder of the display that you aren’t actively looking at will show useless information that visually matches the rest of the display.
If this patent ever sees the light of day, it’ll make for much easier viewing of sensitive data without us having to worry about people getting a glimpse of our private information. I know how I’ll use it—to avoid the prying eyes of the person standing beside me in the metro.
Touch Bar-like display and see-through effect in Apple Pencil
According to this patent, Apple may introduce a glass-incorporated Apple Pencil with Touch Bar-like controls. It may also come with a see-through display that will allow you to see the part of the drawing that’s usually blocked from view by the Pencil while you work.
This new patent involves haptic feedback and guidance that may be able to give users more control over the Pencil. For instance, users may be able to alter the thickness of a pen stroke by simply sliding a finger across the glass, and even view colour choices across the glass side of the stylus body. Even more exciting, there’s another patent application in the works for giving the Apple Pencil the ability to tug the user’s hand and guiding their movement! Spooky stuff.
Though I admire Apple’s seemingly bottomless wellspring of innovation, I can’t help but be a bit miffed about the fact that they’re just sitting on thousands of patents that (let’s face it) may never see the light of day. I really hope they do something with these new ones. What about you? Which Apple patents are you most excited about?