Future iPhone Features Revealed in Apple Patents

Every time a new Apple patent goes public it sets off waves of speculation about the next iPhone. The latest round of patents is no different, and some features are already expected to debut on the iPhone 5 next summer. Two of these patents would make for some interesting changes in the next iPhone and beyond.

apple iphone patent flash redirect

One patent shows a redirecting flash. Apple just added an LED flash to the iPhone 4 and the company is already looking to improve this feature. A redirecting flash would be capable of aiming and focusing light to specific areas in a photograph to help properly expose the scene.

iPhone 4G Could Include Apple Interface Patents

A patent application filed by Apple in August 2008 shows some novel ways to interact with the iPhone. Swiping over the camera lens and a series of taps on the back of the iPhone are described as a way to control voicemail playback while the iPhone is against the head.

apple iphone patent alternative input

Holding the iPhone in the hand would make the camera lens react differently, controlling calling options or scrolling through contacts lists or web pages. Taps would be detected through an accelerometer inside the device.

Apple Patent Explores Solar Powered Mobile Devices

We reported earlier on the Novothink solar iPhone charger, the first device of its kind to be approved by Apple. Someday you may not even need an external case to charge your Apple device in the sun.

Apple patent solar iPhone

Apple has filed patents involving integrated solar charging panels built into future mobile devices and media players. According to the patent, energy-producing panels could be placed directly under touch screen surfaces such as an iPhone display.

Apple Patent Reveals Pop-Up Tablet Keyboard

With descriptions of the upcoming Apple tablet's user interface featuring words like "awesome" and "surprising" it's possible some patents filed by the company have been used in the device.

tablet patent apple

Plans for a tactile feedback virtual keyboard describe buttons and frames that would pop up when keys are displayed and retract under the surface at other times. This would make typing on an on-screen tablet keyboard feel much more like typing on a standard keyboard.

Nokia Expands Patent Attack on Apple

Not long after Apple counter-sued Nokia, the stakes of the battle have increased. Nokia is now claiming that Apple has violated its patents in almost all of its consumer electronics products. The US International Trade Commission has received word that Nokia believes Apple's iPhones, iPods and computers are all abusing Nokia's intellectual property rights.

Initially, Nokia claimed that Apple had violated patents including GSM and UMTS communications standards as well as security and encryption standards in its iPhone. Apple countered the lawsuit by saying that Nokia illegally copied 13 of its own patents and named the Nokia E71 as a device that completely mimics the iPhone.


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