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What Apple patents say about iPhone 7, iPad Air 3, Apple Watch, new Macs & other future products

Ashleigh Allsopp | Feb. 5, 2015
We examine Apple's patent portfolio to uncover clues to future iPhones, iPads, Macs, the Apple Watch and unreleased products like the Apple Television.

The first of the two head mounted displays described in a patent filed in 2006 is designed to provide optimum image quality using a laser light engine. The second patent, filed in 2008, describes Apple goggles with two adjustable screens that can be aligned with your eyes and adjusted for those who wear glasses.

Further still, the patent suggests that the goggles could identify users by tracking eyeballs, voice and fingerprints.

Apple future tech: Virtual keyboard
In February 2013, USPTO published a patent that describes a new depth perception technology that could be used to introduce virtual keyboards.

The application covers a "Depth perception device and system" which can determine the distance to an object or the depth of an object using a combination of image capturing sensors and lasers.

The technology could be used in combination with a projected control panel such as a keyboard to create a virtual keyboard. The technology would be able to determine the selection of a particular button or input of the control panel by determining the depth of a user's finger, a stylus or other input mechanism.

Apple future tech: Holographic touchscreen
This is another pretty cool patent from Apple that gives us a glimpse at what the future could hold. First spotted in September 2014, the patent covers an advanced display that combines lasers, micro lenses and sensors that enable it to put out a three-dimensional holographic image that's completely interactive. (I can't stop imagining this scenefrom The Hunger Games).

Apple future tech: 3D gestures
We're not expecting holographic touchscreens to arrive any time soon, but this next patent from Apple seems much more realistic for a 2015 or 2016 release. It details a "Three dimensional user interface session control" system that would take advantage of the motion-sensing hardware the company has access to after it acquired PrimeSense, the company behind the Xbox's Kinect controller.

The system would work through the use of a camera attached to the top of a TV or Mac that would detect 3D motion gestures made by the user and react accordingly.

Apple future tech: GoPro rival
Another patent that could result in an Apple product in the not-too-distant future is one that was granted to the company in January 2015 for a remote-controlled action camera that's a bit like the GoPro (but not quite, because according to the patent Apple doesn't like the GoPro very much).


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