The future of Apple – Ten intriguing Apple patents

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An Insight into the Future of this Brand Leader
Last year Apple was granted 563 patents. Apple’s track record as a genuine industry leader suggests some of these ideas will flow through to influence the consumer technology landscape in the same way the iPod, iPhone, App Store and the iPad have. has taken a look at some of Apple’s recent patent applications to see what exciting developments might be in store for the future. Apple patent expert Jack Purcher summs-them-up: “Jobs’s vision for the digital lifestyle a decade ago is still on a roll. It’s innovation at its finest. But it began with a vision – and that’s the difference.”

1. iBike

Apple’s smart bike concept is like the Nike+ running system, but for those on two wheels. In addition to seeing pertinent data from you (heart rate, etc.) and the bike (speed, distance, etc.) on your iPod or iPhone, the system could be used as a tool for group communication when biking with others.

2. Wand remote

Is gesture control the next big thing to follow touch? It seems Apple might think so with this patent for the Apple TV that sees the home entertainment gadget shipped with a Wiimote-like motion controller. Besides managing the on-screen cursor via movement, the “remote wand” could be used to browse through and control media.

3. Solar-powered iPhone

Apple has come up with a way – in theory anyway – of adding solar tech to its portable devices without spoiling the all-important aesthetics. By integrating the photocells into the touchscreen, future iPods, iPads and iPhones could soak up the power of the sun via their displays, making for greener gadgetry.

4. Touchscreen iMac

This clever concept gives the desktop PC iPad-esque functionality. While the monitor is upright, it’s a common iMac running Apple’s full operating system controlled with a mouse, but flip it horizontally and it switches to the iOS and the touch controls take over.

5. iKey

This clever concept gives the desktop PC iPad-esque functionality. While the monitor is upright, it’s a common iMac running Apple’s full operating system controlled with a mouse, but flip it horizontally and it switches to the iOS and the touch controls take over.

Chances are your iPhone has already replaced your compact camera, MP3 player and handheld gaming console, but Apple could take the convergence a step further and replace your keys. The Cupertino company has patented the idea that your iPhone could unlock your car and home with a proximity-based PIN code system.

6. iHeadset

This is one patent we could definitely see coming to market. Apple has designed a Bluetooth headset with standalone media playback functionality. This could well be a future version of the iPod Shuffle – small, wearable and, thanks to the Bluetooth features, multi-tasking.

7. Shareable apps

How would you like to be able to beam your latest App Store download to a buddy? Apple has come up with the idea of an “application seed” system whereby developers could choose to make their apps shareable via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It’s a fantastic concept for content providers who are looking to spread the word as far and wide as possible. Additionally, trial version options could be a great word-of-mouth money maker.

8. Video game comic books

If you want to relive that last level of Mass Effect that you aced, Apple might offer a way to do so in the future. This unusual patent allows you to describe your progress through a video game, record it, and then turn it into a book or e-book in comic style.

9. Magnetic lenses

iPhotography is hot, and its potential is limited only by hardware restrictions. Although Apple has steadily improved the iPhone’s camera, it’s still just a point-and-shooter. This patent describes a way of enhancing a portable device’s camera functionality with a magnetic zoom or macro lens attachments.

10. MacBooks with built-in projectors

This exciting idea could see future Apple laptops coming with built-in projectors. Just think how handy it would be to be able to share what’s on your laptop screen – whether that’s a movie or a presentation – with a group of others at the click of a mouse.

This post was originally published on
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Image of Steve Jobs by Mark Wilson, [Gizmodo]


  1. I think the clear message here is that Apple believes there are no bad ideas.
    Of those 500+ patents only a dozen might make it to market. But Apple believes they are valuable enough to patent. It’s a really clever way to live a brand mantra like “Think different” and truly bring it life throughout an organisation.

    • It will be interesting to see which of the 500+ patents actually become Apple products. Apple really is one of the most innovative and forward thinking brands on the market, and this latest strategic move certainly proves that. If they call for public views on which patents to turn into physical products, my hand is up for the in-built projector.

  2. Dave, great pick up on the life and times of Apple. Love it. I could not help picture the limo drives of the world strutting around with the
    iheadset. The other one that tickles the fancy in application is the wand remote. Have a mental picture the extrovert big on expressing every thought with their hands….any way enough is enough, I am getting of this blog and going to check how many great ideas my organisation has tied up in pending patents!

  3. You guys should have a read of It’s a modern technology blog that reports on these patents from not only Apple but other companies. Some of these are very dated news articles. I commend Apple for the patents they apply for, but it’s not only them that do it, tens of other top technology companies apply for patents all the time, it’s just that they aren’t newsworthy because they aren’t from Apple.

  4. You make a good point James, and in many ways your point under-scores the value to Apple of their brand building. Why is it that all the attention is on Apple and not the other tech brands? The answer lies both in the way Apple have continually delivered innovation to the market, but also the manner in which they have positioned their brand to be known for this. The lesson for all brands is product innovation alone will not measure up to product and brand innovation.

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