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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.

Specifically, Apple's patents list many products that could benefit from the use of Liquidmetal, including a telephone (namely, the iPhone), an "electronic email sending/receiving device," a digital display, a TV monitor, an e-reader, an iPad, a computer monitor, a DVD player, a video games console, an iPod, an Apple TV or accessories such as a keyboard, mouse or speaker.

Interestingly, Apple also notes that Liquidmetal can be used in a device such as "a watch or a clock" which could hint that a future Apple Watch that takes advantage of the material.

While we don't expect Apple to launch products made from Liquidmetal just yet due to the struggles that come with manufacturing with the material, it's likely that the future of Apple devices will involve Liquidmetal on a much bigger scale than the current SIM ejector tool!

What Apple patents say about new Macs
Apple Mac patents: Advanced MacBook keyboard
Apple's Mac keyboards could be getting a pretty cool upgrade if a patent spotted at the end of June 2014 is ever put into use. It describes a method of building mini displays into the keys to provide customisable keys and the ability to change the symbols displayed to suit different languages, musical notes or coding functions, for example.

The keys could also offer haptic feedback, including vibration or increased resistance, where applicable.

Apple Mac patents: Wireless mouse/keyboard charging
Future Apple keyboards and mice could be charged wirelessly using a magnetic transmitters and receivers.

Apple has been awarded a patent that aims to create "efficient and friendly interaction between peripheral devices in a wirelessly powered local computing environment," using a wireless near-field magnetic resonance (NFMR) to transmit power to mice, keyboards and other peripherals with built-in magnetic receivers.

Apple Mac patents: Touch-sensitive MacBook chassis
Apple could eliminate the need for some of the physical buttons found on the MacBook using this next patent. It describes a laptop that has a touch-sensitive chassis that would allow Apple to introduce touch input to the bezels of a MacBook for the volume and brightness keys, for example.

Another use described in the patent relates to the ports on the side of the MacBook. A user could touch the USB port, for example, and the MacBook would inform them that it is indeed the USB port they've located by saying "USB" or displaying a USB-related window.

This patent even suggests that squeezing the MacBook chassis could be an alternative method of input. The user could squeeze the left side of the MacBook between their fingers to lower the volume, for example, and the right side to increase the volume.


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