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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 iPad patents: Vibrate feature
Future iPads could have the vibrate feature built in thanks to an audio codec chip that could allow the iPad to set up vibration alerts for notifications like we can for the iPhone.

What Apple patents say about the future of iOS
iOS 9 is set to be previewed by Apple during WWDC in June, and is likely to arrive on our devices in September. Perhaps these features will come to iOS in a future version of the software.

Apple iOS patents: Clearer contacts in Messages app
Apple hopes to help prevent those embarrassing misdirected text messages with this next patent, which suggests that we could soon see our friends' faces as the background to our conversations in the Messages app.

Apple describes an invention that simply uses the contact's picture as the background image for conversations with that contact. When there's more than one person in a conversation, Apple adds text and multiple images to the conversation.

Apple iOS patents: Driver lock-out
Apple has been granted a patent that relates to the dangerous activity of texting while driving. Apple has invented a lock-out mechanism for drivers, which would prevent drivers from being able to text while behind the wheel.

One embodiment of Apple's invention uses a motion analyser, a scenery analyser and a lock-out mechanism to determine how fast the device is moving (indicating that it's in a car) and where the holder of the device is located (driver's seat or passenger seat). If the device then determines that the holder of the device is also the driver of a vehicle, the lock-out mechanism will disable some functions of the phone, such as the messages app.

Other embodiments involve slight modification of the vehicle itself to send out signals to tell the device to lock-out, which could hint that the technology may come with a future version of CarPlay.

Apple's "Auto-station tuning" patent suggests Apple is looking into the ability to automatically switch between radio stations and TV stations depending on user preferences. This could be used to for iOS devices, but it's possible we could see this technology used in the Apple TV, too.

Apple iOS patents: Transparent text messages
Apple could be planning to introduce transparent text messages with future iPhones or iOS iterations, according to a patent filed in late March 2014.

The system revolves around the background of an application being modified to display a live feed of whatever the rear camera is looking at - creating an effect like the iPhone itself (or at least the portion covered by the screen) is transparent.


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