5 Wildest Patents in Apple’s Arsenal

Apple is keen on securing patents for a number of reasons, namely to protect its products from market rivals at any given point in the future.  Just ask Samsung.  But with a focus on growing their arsenal, some of the patents Apple files verge on the wild side, with no apparent usefulness in the here and now.  Perhaps even more surprising is the number of wild patents Apple gets approved.

Two patents have recently been granted, U.S. Patent No. 8,303,151 for “microperforation illumination,” and U.S. Patent No. 8,305,728 for “ionic wind generation.”

The microperforation illumination is all about making their logo or other elements on their devices “invisible” unless you touch it.  So imagine the Mac sans the Apple logo, but when you touch it, voila!  The Apple logo appears.  As for touchscreen devices, I imagine that in the future, the physical home button of the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch will disappear and will be replaced by an invisible button that lights up when you touch it.  I assume this would be unlike Samsung’s touch buttons, as you can still see them even when they are not illuminated.

The second patent is for future Macs.  They’ll no longer come equipped with noisy, mechanical fans that easily break, fixed instead with fans that blow cool air indiscriminately through electronic devices, such as Macs and even iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.  Sounds to me like a magic, micro bladeless fan, or a magic fan to perform all the wonders of the world.

Wildly ingenious or just ho-hum?

If you think Apple’s two newest patents are out of this world, wait to you see some of the others.  We’ve rounded a handful of Apple’s wildest patents, and some from their rivals, to gain a glimpse of our future with iDevices.

Multi-touch Skin Technology

This patent would bring the multi-touch technology to 3D devices such as a remote, a car’s steering wheel, and sporting equipment such as a tennis racket.  This one actually looks pretty cool, upping the entertainment factor for many of our every day objects.  But adding multi-touch to something like a steering wheel? We already have a lot of problems with drivers being distracted with too many touchy technology in automobiles.   One wrong move, and the car is headed straight for another vehicle, or a tree.

Flat keyless keyboard and Motion keyboard

This is already in play on their mobile devices, but Apple is said to be making a keyless keyboard either with illuminated glass or plastic.  Though it takes typing to the extreme, I’m not too sure people will be happy using this in the first place, seeing as most people would rather skip the keyboard on mobile devices if they could.

Though this isn’t entirely the same, the concept is there: the Razer Deathstalker Ultimate keyboard features the Switchblade UI with ten dynamic adaptive tactile keys and an LCD panel that doubles as a second screen and a secondary input device.  So if ever Apple does launch a keyboardless keyboard, it won’t be too much of a surprise.

As for the motion keyboard, Apple will be mounting cameras on the keyboard so that, even if you do not touch the keyboard, the gestures can be recorded.  Guess they can combine the two technologies for keyboards to make typing easier, or more complicated, for users.

Magic Glove

The love for multi-touch devices can be a pain during winter when you need to wear gloves.  Wearing gloves means the screen won’t respond to your gestures.  So Apple filed for a patent with a high tactility glove system, in other words a magic glove, that would allow users to use their touch screen device during the winter.

The thing is, there are already several companies that sell such gloves.  There’s the North Face ETIP Glove, the iTap 101 Stone, and the Agloves.  I wonder if Apple will sue any of them?  If Apple does release this Magic Glove, I’m pretty sure it would probably cost more than what the others are offering.

Touchscreen Signet Based Login

The name is a mouthful, and sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but it’s actually pretty cool.  Instead of logging in your passcode or password to access your Apple device, you’d need a special item to access it – a signet.  For those who love watching medieval themed movies, you’d probably know what a signet is.  A signet is a ring used to seal letters–they pour melted wax then the signet is pressed on the wax.  A signet is supposed to be one of kind, but even forgers were around in the medieval days. But that’s the point of Apple’s patent: every user would have a unique signet so he can be the only one who can access his Mac or iDevice.

Shapeshifting 3D Device UI

So many of us aren’t happy with the virtual keyboards available for iDevices, but the good news is Apple has a patent for a shapeshifting 3D device user interface.  What this means is, Apple could be working on the technology that would bring physical keyboards to touchscreen devices.  Imagine being able to raise the flat keyboard on your iPhone or iPad?  That would be beyond awesome.  But it’s just a dreamed-up patent for now, so don’t get your hopes up too much.

Smart Device Cover

The iPad can be equipped with a Smart Cover that protects the screen, puts the device on sleep when flipped over the screen, and acts as a stand.  But Apple has a patent for a different Smart Cover that would add more functionality to the device, including a physical keyboard or gaming controls.  It’s not like Microsoft’s Surface RT’s Touch or Type Covers, it’s something that you put directly on the screen, much like Touchfire’s screen-top keyboard or the joystick you can stick on your iPad or iPhone’s screen.  The problem here is, its aesthetically unappealing.

So what do you think?  Are Apple’s patents ingenious, wild or just plain crazy?