Apple Patents: 7 Crazy Ideas You Didn't Expect
Apple is one of the biggest tech giants in the world. So it's not surprising that the Californians are always working on new ideas to develop Apple as a brand. We'll introduce you to some interesting inventions that Apple has patented over the years – but the related products never made it to market.
By Sebastian Weber
iPhone as a MacBook replacement
The iPhone as the heart of a laptop? Why not? Image: © Apple/USPTO 2022
The Apple patents that have come to light over the years range from "odd" to "could be very useful." The following idea falls into the last category.
Apple has patented a gadget for the iPhone, which is basically a laptop with no inner workings. It includes a battery, a screen, and a keyboard, but lacks a processor, graphics card, and the like.
The task of these components should take over the iPhone. You simply plug it into the gadget so that the smartphone becomes a notebook. A slightly modified version of this patent also manages without a screen. An iPad can be inserted in its place, so that the whole thing also functions as a laptop.
Advanced straps for the Apple Watch
There was almost a self-adjusting watch strap. Image: © Apple/USPTO 2022
The camera in the Apple Watch bracelet: Could also come from a spy film. Image: © Apple/USPTO 2022
There are two interesting patents for the Apple Watch that relate to the bracelets of the smart watch.
A patent describes an Apple Watch strap that adapts individually to the wearer's wrist. This is to prevent the bracelet from being too tight, getting caught in hair and so on. The smart strap can be opened and closed via the Apple Watch.
Another patented version of the Apple Watch strap has a built-in camera. The watch should be able to take pictures without the user having to have their iPhone with them. The recordings can then be transferred to the iPhone or other connected devices. Since the Apple Watch has mastered LTE, transmission via the mobile network would also be conceivable.
Apple sees the practical benefit in the fact that you don't have to take your iPhone out of your pocket as often. In addition, such an Apple Watch camera could also take photos when you can't have your smartphone with you, for example when swimming or diving.
Too bad, many users would probably like a crumb-free keyboard. Image: © Apple/USPTO 2022
You probably know that too: Anyone who sits in front of the computer a lot, whether privately or professionally, also eats lunch or a snack in front of the computer.
To protect the keyboard from crumbs and other dirt, Apple has patented two concepts. The first is quite simple: it describes a protective membrane between the keys. It should prevent leftovers and the like from falling into the keyboard.
The second Apple patent for keyboards focuses a little more on technology. The keys of the keyboard are equipped with air nozzles. Every time you press a key, it emits a blast of air that blows away every little crumb. In theory, the keyboard stays clean – but the constant blasts of air are probably not really suitable for everyday use.
Headphones with health functions
The biometric headphones could actually come onto the market. Image: © Apple/USPTO 2022
The Apple Watch is already known for monitoring your bodily functions, for example by measuring your heart rate. The biometric headphones, for which Apple has applied for a patent, should be able to do all that and more. The over-ear headphones should also record your pulse, monitor breathing, measure body temperature and some other values.
The biometric sports headphones never came onto the market, but headphones with health functions could actually appear. The AirPods Pro 2 are said to be able to track the user's heart rate and body temperature and even assess their posture.
Toxic Gas Sensors
Toxic gas sensors would be a very special Apple gadget. Image: © Apple/USPTO 2022
Apple has developed special sensors that can be integrated into mobile devices – such as the iPhone or the Apple Watch. These sensors detect dangerous levels of toxic gases. Your Apple device can use this to warn you of excessive carbon monoxide levels or other dangerous gases.
Haptic feedback for your feet
Vibrating socks actually sound pretty cool. Image: © Apple/USPTO 2022
Rumor has it that Apple has been working on VR or AR glasses for years. There is no official information about this yet. However, patents from Apple keep popping up that suggest the rumors aren't too far-fetched, such as the following: The Californians have secured a concept that allows them to transmit haptic feedback to your feet while you're in a virtual world stop
The first concepts can best be described as “VR socks” – which, according to Apple, do not necessarily have to be socks or shoes. The company is more concerned with the concept of giving the user the credible feeling of running on different surfaces with various sensors and motors.
No more filming concerts with the iPhone
It's also much nicer to enjoy a concert than to film it. Image: © Apple/USPTO 2022
Last but not least, an idea from Apple that would surely disappoint many iPhone users. The company has filed a patent in which the smartphone's camera uses visible and infrared light to detect the current location.
This allows the iPhone to determine, for example, that you are at a concert – and deactivate the camera. The meaning? You should enjoy the show to the fullest. Of course, copyright protection also plays a role. After all, concert recordings are generally forbidden.
Another purpose of this special location detection sounds more practical: The iPhone can, for example, also recognize that you are in a museum – and show you information about the exhibition you have visited.