Some of Apple's rivals including the HTC One M8 have camera features that allow you to achieve similar results, so it's certainly a potential feature for the next iPhone.
What Apple patents say about future iPads
Many of the patents listed above can relate to the iPad too, including the upcoming iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 4. There are some patents in Apple's portfolio that seem particularly suited to tablets, though.
Apple iPad patents: Advanced Sensor UI & the "pull" gesture
Apple seems keen to replace, or at least augment touch screen technology with advanced hand sensing. This will detect hand movements surrounding the device.
Patent 8,514,221 shows that Apple isn't just looking to patent the physical system, but gestures as well. One gesture that is looking to join pinch to zoom, swipe and tap, could be the "pull" gesture. This is where you have your fingers on the screen, and then move them up and away, pulling an object from the screen. What feature this gesture could implement is still in the secret lab, but it will enable an interesting new level of interaction with iOS.
Apple iPad patents: Haptic feedback
Apple hasn't given up on Haptic feedback. What seemed a bit of a buzz technology for other companies a few years ago is still being developed inside the Apple labs. Haptic feedback systems put a low level voltage through a display to recreate the physical sensation of touching buttons on a flat piece of glass.
Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,378,797 for a "Method and apparatus for localization of haptic feedback" shows that Apple is looking to develop a more accurate haptic feedback system. It is clear that haptics can move far beyond the 'buzzy' screens of older smartphones, and could enable apple to create a virtual home button, and on-screen keys that feel similar to the real thing.
Apple iPad patents: Pressure sensitive display
An additional patent relating to the way we use the iPad describes a pressure sensitive display. USPTO in January published a patent that covers a device such as an iPad with a display that uses built-in pressure sensors to enhance navigation.
The patent, titled "Gesture and touch input detection through force sensing," suggests future iPads could have at least three force sensors beneath the screen.
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