1. 3D Widgets for Dashboard
A patent that shows the humble beginnings of a total OS revamp?
Imagine a touchscreen 3D iMac that has a fully 3D user interface. You'd have a 3D widget in the shape of a cube which you can rotate, each side showing the weather in a different part of the world. Sounds cool, right? Well this is essentially the base technology behind that, and clearly a step in the right direction.
2. Apple Smart Bike Concept
Definitely a departure from Apple's usual range of products. Is the Apple Smart Bike the company's first eco-focused product?
Able to record your heart rate, speed, distance and even altitude the Smart Bike can then communicate with other Smart Bikes - relaying group information - presumably so you can slow down if someone's finding things a bit tough. we're not sure we'd go as far as to say that this will ever see the light of day, but considering Apple's partnership with Nike, something similar could well be in the works.
Related links: Apple patent reveals Smart Bike concept
3. Heartbeat sensor for iPhone
Nestled among the wonderful moments of genius from Apple is this rather Orwellian little gem:
The patent suggests that future iPhones could play host to a Biometric Sensor, which would measure the users heartbeat and allow him/her access to the device if recognized. We're not entirely sure whether this level of security is entirely necessary, but then again, if you're concerned about your plans for world domination leaking out then this could be the thing for you.
4. Invisible Light-Formed Controls
Invisible perforations in the shell of the product shine light through in any combination of shapes: creating adaptable controls.
This is the kind of high-end tech we like to see from Apple - new ways to interact that don't include a touchscreen. As seen by the diagram it could be used to create media controls on MacBooks or even in developing adaptive keyboards.
5. MacBook with IPS touchscreen display
This is something that could well be happening in the next few years. Apple has already shown that its IPS display is up to the job having featured in the iPad.
Whether having a touchscreen on the MacBook is entirely necessary is another matter, but with other technologies already present (such as the multi-touch trackpad) Apple already has a good foundation for alternative input.
6. NFC on next set of Apple products?
NFC (Near Field Communication) is a technology that would allow the next iPhone to function as a door pass, or be able to unlock a MacBook or iMac.
It's most likely to appear in the next range of mobile devices such as the next iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone 5, utilising the tech to give users a wireless form of access to things from buildings to gigs, or enable use as a credit card. In terms of whether it'll crop up, the likelihood is pretty high. NFC technology is already used in many applications: Oyster Card, Barclaycard's OnePulse.
Related links: Apple iPhone 4 will include NFC tech claims patent
7. Pico Projecting MacBooks
This is one of the more feasible patents by Apple, given that all the relevant technology is already in place.
Given Apple's pride over the svelte frame of the Macbook, we could instead see a Pico Projector peripheral - cast from a single block of aluminium and connectible with anything and everything Cupertino-made.
8. Shape-shifting User Interface
This truly is one of Apple's more bizarre patent applications. It points towards a touchscreen technology that can also change into a physical keyboard or specific buttons.
Sounds almost like science fiction to us, and the likelihood of it appearing anytime soon is slim. Firstly, Apple needs to invent a touchscreen display that can bend, then reform after having changed. Back to the drawing board chaps.
9. Touchscreen iMac using both OS X and iOS
A strong contender for how next years iMac will look, this patent application is by far the best we've seen yet.
Essentially a touchscreen iMac, the design allows the machine to be swivelled down to an angle where the computer will switch over to the more touch-friendly iOS, allowing all manner of gesture-controlled programs and applications to run smoothly. It has enormous potential and definitely sticks to Apple's current ethos that our fingers are the new 'it' tools for using technology.