There's a reason that we're all still carrying physical keys around with us: they're simple, they're reliable, and while you might forget the key itself somewhere, you don't need to remember anything else besides how to put the key in a lock. A recently-spotted patent from Apple suggests that it's trying to make laptop chargers work the exact same way.
Here we go. Hurry up and breath all that fresh air in, because this is the last weekend before Apple takes wraps off the next iPhone (tentatively called the iPhone 4S/5). Will it have that 4-inch screen? Will it have that teardrop aluminum body? Will it have that faster dual-core A5 processor with 1GB of RAM and a spiffy 8-megapixel rear camera? Maybe that elongated multi-gesture home button? That's anybody's guess. The next iPhone will no doubt attract a lot of attention and coverage next Tuesday, so to get the train rolling early, we've collected some of the craziest patents in Apple's portfolio that might make it into the new smartphone. Hey, Apple owns the patents to build the tech, who's to say it won't surprise everybody with a few of them?
One of the trademark designs on every single MacBook is the magnetic power connector a.k.a. the MagSafe. Apple's just been granted a patent that will allow it to build future iPads and iPhones with the same trip-proof charging cables. Hurray!
Apple's Find My iPhone service allows you to locate your phone if it's lost or stolen. Very handy! But according to some new patents, it could be getting a significant upgrade.
We already have wireless charging, but it requires you to set your gadgets on a charging pad, which usually means specialized, bulky sleeves for your phone and the like to take advantage of the system. Read: it kind of sucks. Apple's take? Ditch the wires and the pads using f&#@in' magnetism. But how does that work?
Picture this (because one day your iPhone may not let you): you're at a concert seeing your favorite band. You want to get a simple picture to remember the moment forever, so you whip out your iPhone 9000, but the camera button doesn't work. Your iPhone knows you don't have the commercial right to take that picture and has denied you.
OLED displays offer brightness and crispness that's near-unmatched. So why hasn't Apple embraced them yet? Well, they might be soon according to some recently unearthed patents.
A patent filed by Apple shows what could be the next evolution of the company's line of mice: a touchscreen device with its own built-in processor. Of course, you could already be rocking a touch surface using Apple's Magic Mouse (essentially just an external trackpad, which is a little redundant for laptop users), but this patent still makes you wonder.
Returning all those duplicate copies of Avatar (you wanted five, right?) and pairs of underwear may be a lot easier in the future — in fact, returns may be a thing of the past. That is, if Amazon's sorta-dubious-but-we-all-are-horrible-enough-to-use-it patented bad gift interceptor gets put in place by the company.
Apple joins the likes of IBM and Sony in wanting to bring about some sweet holographic display technology. While Apple's patent admits that it isn't a "true hologram" the company is after, it does go so far as to call the proposal "exceptional." Not your usual humble, dry patent here!