Apple Wants to Reinvent How We Interact with Technology

Leave it to Apple to patent the coolest stuff.

Apple revolutionized the MP3 player and the smartphone. Now, the company is looking to completely reinvent how we interact with technology. A recently approved patent by the company gives a strong hint at the direction that CEO Steve Jobs wants to push his iOS lineup towards—glasses free 3D with Microsoft Kinect like interaction. (The patent was filed five years ago.)

I know, it sounds too good to be true but the patent is pretty clear. The technology outlined has two components that closely work together: the three dimensional screen and the tracking device that reads user input. The screen won’t work properly without the tracking device however.

What sets Apple’s glasses free 3D screen apart from others like the one in Nintendo’s upcoming 3DS and some Android smartphones from Sharp in Japan is that it actually knows where the user is and can then adjust the displayed 3D image accordingly. It does this by using a tracking device. What tracking device? Maybe something like that FaceTime camera in the front of every iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4. Apple already has patented plans to use the camera for a lot more than just video calling. Facial recognition to make the mobile payment more secure for example…

Apple’s screen itself works a lot like the one inside Nintendo’s 3DS. In layman’s terms, it combines the screen and the 3D glasses in one unit. 3D will never really catch on until those clunky and annoying glasses are a thing of the past. Fortunately Apple has production scales large enough to make the technology affordable (as does Nintendo I am sure). Between the two, expect 3D to become the norm in a few years.

The coolest part of Apple’s technology however is how users can interact with the screen. “The manipulation of the virtual objects occurs because the feedback mechanism recognizes observer movements, such as finger movements, at the locations of the virtual objects and reconfigures the display of the virtual objects in response thereto,” says the patent. Basically, the screen and sensors can make it appear like you can reach right into the screen and touch objects displayed on it.

Excited about this kind of technology appearing in future generations of iPods, iPhones and iPads? I can’t wait to get my hands on something with this inside. While I doubt it will appear in the iPhone 5, maybe the iPhone 6 in 2012 will have it…

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