The newest iPhone 7 rumors seem straight out of a science fiction movie. And these rumored technology patents are more on the level with the technology that Iron Man has in the Marvel Universe than anything we’ve seen today.
As a hint, the newest iPhone 7 rumors are more of a progression from the 3D touch technology that Apple introduced last year with the iPhone 6s models.
To take it one step further, Apple might be able to incorporate touch-free gestures into the iPhone 7. 9 To 5 Mac reports that Apple was granted a patent today for detecting touch-free gestures at close range.
Ben Lovejoy writes, “The approach could build on the capabilities of multi-touch and 3D touch to respond to fingers hovering close to an iPhone or iPad display, as well as use on keyboards and trackpads.”
What could it actually be used for? The newest patent could use sensors to disable accidental touch input such as when you’re holding the phone close to your face. The system would only detect hover events just above the surface of the screen.
This marks an interesting development for Apple. Now, their technology may start diverting away from having to physically touch the product at all, opening up a whole world of possibilities.
The patent report reads, “In addition to detection of touching events, the detection of fingers, palms or other objects hovering near the touch panel is desirable because it can enable the computing system to perform certain functions without necessitating actual contact with the touch panel.”
It’s easy to get carried away and start thinking that this new technology may open the door to the kind of touch-free technology Tony Stark uses in his lab, but Apple is probably years away from doing anything like that soon.
The immediate effects of the patent would most likely be minute for the iPhone 7. Apple Insider reports that the proximity-sensing hardware would work in tandem with the existing touch software to provide a variety of new experiences and features for the user.
Whether or not this patent will actually make its way into any Apple products remains to be seen.
Mikey Campbell over at Apple Insider writes, “Enticing as it is, the technology is unlikely to make its way into a shipping device anytime soon. Apple is still looking for unique 3D Touch integrations for its first-party apps, while many third-party developers have yet to take advantage of the pressure-sensing iPhone 6s feature. Introducing yet another input method would muddy the waters.”
The recently developed 3D technology has yet to be used by many app developers, so to introduce new technology so soon after a previous breakthrough might be a little premature.
Ben Lovejoy at 9 to 5 Mac echoes the same sentiments about the new technology.
“As always, we note that Apple patents literally thousands of things that never make their way into products, and its patents for touch-free technology date back many years. In this case, though, the company does at least have a demonstrated interest in gesture interfaces, acquiring Primesense – the company behind the gesture-detection technology used in Microsoft’s Kinect – back in 2013.”
The iPhone 7 rumors continue to swirl, and this new patent is only helping to stir up more interest. Apple is expected to release some sort of news about the newest iPhone model soon, but for now, we’re going to have to wait for it and speculate.
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