The dream of a completely self-contained Apple Watch came closer to reality with the addition of cellular data. While many functions of the iPhone can be accomplished with just the watch, taking photos is conspicuously absent. Third-party accessories which add a camera to the Apple Watch are available, but Apple has raised eyebrows itself with a recently awarded patent.
Apple may be working on headphones that double as loudspeakers, as revealed by the recent patent titled "Dual mode headphones and methods for constructing the same". US Patent Number 9,565,490 is dated February 7, 2017 and shows designs similar to current Beats headphones and EarPods. The difference is that flipping the speakers around converts them into amplified speakers for in-room listening.
Apple took multitouch gestures to a new level with the launch of the original iPhone. The iPhone 6s brought the concept even further, adding 3D Touch to detect pressure. Now it seems that future iOS devices may include the space above the screen as another level of input. In a patent granted this week the company details methods for hover detection, which could be used to sense gestures made without contacting the display surface at all.
Apple has been granted a patent titled "Small form factor high-resolution camera". While it may not sound like a departure from current iSight cameras found on devices such as the iPhone, this new design may have a significant design impact. By making the image sensor concave, Apple engineers are able to compress the entire camera assembly. The key to this design is that image quality is retained, with high-resolution image capture possible despite the smaller package size.
A patent application reveals that Apple is working on an innovative two-sensor camera system for mobile devices. Unlike some two-sensor concepts focused on 3D image capture, the intent of Apple's design would be to provide robust optical zoom capability. In a nutshell, both camera units would capture the same scene at different focal lengths simultaneously. This would result in both a wide shot and closeup taken of the same subject, which could be stored together on the mobile device.