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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.

Apple iPhone 7 patents: Touch ID display
Apple is even investigating including the fingerprint scanner into the display of a smartphone or tablet, taking the technology even further. In fact, Apple filed a patent describing a Touch ID display back in January 2013.

Scan display

This technology means that you could place your finger on the display to scan it, instead of the Home Button. We're not sure if this technology was an original variation to the Home Button scanner found on the iPhone 5S, or if it'll be combined with the Haptics & Tactile technology to remove the Home Button on a future iPhone and replace it with a virtual on-screen button.

The patent describes a touchscreen display with a fingerprint-sensing layer that could be used to introduce advanced multi-user support.

For example, Apple could use the fingerprint sensing display to only allow particular users to open certain apps. This could be useful for those with children who like to explore the iPad, for example.

Additionally, Apple could take the display even further. It could be used in conjunction with a piano app, for example, to teach users the correct finger placement for the instrument.

Apple iPhone 7 patents: Attack detection mode
In March 2014, USPTO published an Apple patent filing that could be used to protect iPhone owners when they're in distress.

The patent, titled "Mobile emergency attack and failsafe detection", describes a feature that combines software and hardware to create an emergency services request system that's build in to a smartphone such as the iPhone.

Using the iPhone's sensors, the software could detect when the user is in an emergency situation such as a physical attack or car crash and automatically call for help. Users can set a predefined set of contact numbers, or use the iPhone's automatic service to call local 999 numbers. It can also make use of the GPS to detect the location of the user and call the contact that's closest.

To avoid an abundance of 999 calls being placed unnecessarily, the service has a number of modes and measures in place, such as audible timers to alert the user that a call is about to be made.

Apple iPhone 7 patents: Home button joystick
Here's a fun one for iPhone gamers: Apple has filed a patent that covers the idea of a joystick built-in to the Home button.

The patent, which was spotted by Patently Apple in January, describes an iPhone Home button that can pop up thanks to a spring beneath it to become a small joystick perfect for games. Cool, right?

 

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