Apple could be working on something pretty incredible for a future iPhone, maybe event the iPhone 14, if a new patent is illustrative of the company’s current thinking.
As uncovered by Patently Apple (opens in new tab), when combined with “Privacy Eyewear”, your iPhone could block anyone from seeing what’s on your screen, other than you. With the iPhone maker working on Apple Glasses, it’s exciting to think that Apple could be making this kind of magical privacy a reality.
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“In some embodiments, a user may interact with the calibration graphic to intentionally blur the graphical output presented on the display of the device (iPhone),” writes Patently Apple, explaining the feature. “If a user desires privacy or doesn't want a nearby person to view what is presented on the display, the user may interact with the calibration graphic to make the graphical output illegible.”
Provided Apple Glasses actually look the part — or become sufficiently popular to become fashionable, like AirPods — this is a far cleaner way of keeping privacy than I can ever remember seeing. And this would put me at the front of the queue to renounce Android and adopt iOS instead.
Being able to read messages and emails in public, without worrying about prying eyes really is a killer feature for me. Past implementations that I can recall have been innovative, but ultimately messy.
Take the BlackBerry Key 2, for example. There was a feature called Privacy Shade (opens in new tab) which would turn your whole screen black, aside from a small circle that you could move around with the finger, ensuring that you could quickly scan emails without being spied on.
But this had the knock-on effect of making your phone that bit less comfortable to use. Apple’s solution could — theoretically — be absolutely seamless.
The “could” is important, though. Like many companies, Apple patents a lot of ideas that never find their way into a commercially available product, and that may well be the case here too. If it does arrive in an iPhone, we’re probably not looking until the iPhone 15 at the earliest, as the first iteration of Apple Glasses aren’t expected until at least 2023.