We all know Apple, like most big tech companies, files a lot of patent applications for inventions that will likely never see the light of day. Today we get a look at a couple of its latest patent applications via documents published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and detailed by PatentlyApple.
On the more believable side, we get one that includes a new animated lock screen that would provide quick access to frequently used apps via a new animated feature accessible through a home button that could also recognize touch and pressure input (pictured above). Redesigning the lockscreen with new features has been a big request from many users, so this one isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility for future iOS releases:
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Said another way, the user may bypass the sliding input or security screen by entering a predefined input using the home button 420 to enter a “quick access” mode of the mobile device in which certain applications may be immediately available to the user, regardless of whether a security wall may be enforced with respect to applications on the mobile device.
A little harder to swallow is another patent application, originally filed in Q3 2011, that shows Apple experimenting with the idea of hybrid notebook/tablet designs. We know Apple has experimented with bringing touch screens to MacBooks, with Steve Jobs back in 2010 calling the experience “ergonomically terrible.” It also doesn’t seem likely that Apple will get into tablets in its 13- to 17-inch notebook sizes anytime soon. A little easier to imagine is Apple perhaps releasing a dedicated keyboard accessory for iPad. From the patent application:
the screen may include a touch sensing or other input mechanism, such as a capacitive touch sensor, to allow the screen to further function as an input device for the computing device. This type of input functionality may be helpful when the display is removed from the base… the switch may have a magnetic polarization or other magnetized force and may interact with another element, such as an electromagnet, to mechanically pull the support members into or out of the enclosure.
PatentlyApple also has the details on a recent patent applications from Apple that shows windows in its Smart Cover iPad case that would allow the user to view, for example, a clock, email, or stocks without removing the cover.