Apple and patents is a fun subject to talk about, namely because Apple gets kind of crazy where patents are concerned. For years now, Apple has been embroiled in patent conflicts with various companies but most especially Samsung for its Galaxy line of smartphones. I have a lot of mixed opinions on that, but instead of firing off a debate, let’s just talk about what the future of tech from Apple is beginning to look like.
Hidden Ports and Waterproofing
Apple has an outstanding patent for waterproofed iPhone ports according to paperwork filed in June 2014 and made publicly available just this month. Other smartphone manufacturers are already doing this, but this could mean that future generations of the iPhone will have waterproofing solutions.
Curiously, Apple also has a patent for devices with hidden, self-healing connectors meant to be penetrated only by the cord and not environmental elements, perhaps including water. It’s a strange idea that I haven’t seen much of, but you can look at the patent here for more.
Detachable Displays and 3D Touch Keyboard
As reported by Patently Apple, Apple has recently seen patents approved concerning a notebook with a detachable display (like the Surface Book, which Apple criticized) and 3D Touch keyboards. You can read their article for more detail, but essentially the 3D touch keyboard removes key switches entirely and may be able to respond to multiple potential inputs from a key, similar to their 3D Touch technology.
As a big fan of keyboards, I find this quite interesting.
A patent made available in October, but only filed in April this year, Apple’s already thinking of making an Apple Ring to go along with its Apple Watch, Apple iPhone, etc. I’m a believer in the forthcoming Internet of Things, so I’m interested in seeing how an Apple Ring would work. I’d also be interested in seeing how much Apple sells it for and what it could actually be used to do, but who knows?
Despite their price point, I’ve heard good things about smartwatches, the Apple Watch included. Wearable technology might just be the future.
New Headphone Connectors and Biometrics
Apple’s more than a little interested in biometrics, it turns out, seeing as they’ve patented headpones made to monitor biometric data like heart rate and temperature. The Cupertino company hasn’t stopped there, however, also patenting a very strange new shape for headphone connectors intent on making headphone connectors even smaller to make their thin devices even thinner.
Solid State Batteries for Bendable Devices
Last but not least, Apple is patenting methods for solid state batteries. As reported by Patently Apple, solid state batteries also make it possible to one day have bendable devices, including displays. This means that solid state batteries could, one day in the far-off future, lead to an iPhone that is capable of bending without breaking. It could also lead to longer battery life.
Of course, there’s still more progress to be made on that front. But one day, right?
Apple’s patents aren’t a guarantee that we’re going to see all of this from them one day. There are thousands of unused patents from all the big tech companies, ideas being bounced around by the world’s best engineers. What we may be getting in the future may not be the same as what we see now, but isn’t that element of surprise part of the ride?
Let me know what you think.