Apple Patents

Apple Patent Uses iPhone for VR Display

Apple has been awarded a patent for a head-mounted virtual reality (VR) apparatus that would connect with an iPhone or iPod. After sliding into a cavity on the apparatus, the iOS device provides the display and processing capabilities for VR interaction. The unit detailed in the patent resembles a large pair of glasses with EarPods.

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Apple's concept is similar to the Samsung Gear VR and the Hasbro MY3D accessory. Both accessories accept a smartphone and deliver visually immersive VR or 3D experiences and games using the built in display and accelerometer.

Apple Patent Shows Concept for iPhone Gaming Accessories

Hot on the heels of Apple's home button with joystick mode patent comes another gaming-related concept. The company has been awarded a patent titled "Accessory for playing games with a portable electronic device," which describes several gaming hardware configurations.

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The basic idea revolves around an external accessory that would add physical buttons, joysticks and d-pads to mobile gaming without obscuring the iPhone display. The iOS device would slide or snap into place, filling a recess at the center of the accessory to make for more comfortable gaming. While this may look remarkably familiar, the patent was filed in 2008, well before the days of MFi controllers.

Apple Patents Home Button with Joystick Mode

Imagine a future iPhone centered around mobile gaming. Press the home button down hard enough, and a joystick pops up right out of the device. This is the scenario pictured in the Apple patent application titled "Multi-function input device".

Apple patent joystick home button

The home button would have two modes, button mode (left) and joystick mode. In button mode, the home button would be flush with the surface of the iPhone and act as normal. Joystick mode pushes the home button up, so it rests above the display surface. This converts the button into a full-fledged gaming control stick for the thumb.

Apple Patent Details Reverse AirPlay Mirroring

Imagine a future where the Apple TV streams content via AirPlay to mobile devices. An Apple patent titled "Displaying a synchronized instance of content on a portable electronic device" explains this very process in detail. Normally, content is sent from an AirPlay enabled app on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the Apple TV.

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The patent explains the reverse of this process, with a fixed display system such as the Apple TV feeding synchronized content to the portable device. The iOS device viewing the content would automatically determine if the content being streamed is compatible and can be viewed. If so, the content would be synchronized and delivered via AirPlay on a Wi-Fi network. What's more interesting is the possible scenarios that make this functionality useful.

Apple Patents iPhone that Saves Itself from Drops

What if your iPhone protected itself from damage automatically when dropped? A patent awarded to Apple seeks to build this functionality directly into future mobile devices, analyzing sensor data to detect free fall. The concept continues from there, imagining a system that would react physically to reposition the iPhone in space to minimize damage on impact.

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Physics could save the day, along with movement within the iPhone to change the orientation of the falling device. Existing technology could be used, such as the vibration mechanism inside the phone. Alternatively, a headphone jack that is in use could lock around the plug, giving the owner time to catch the headphone cable and cut the fall short. AppleInsider explained the patent titled “Protective mechanism for an electronic device” was awarded this month after being filed early last year.


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