Apple routinely describes the appearance and operation of its mobile products as "magical" for a reason. Ever since the first iPhone touch screen came on the market, the company has been refining its interface and raising the bar for intuitive interaction to a new level. A patent revealed by Patently Apple shows how Apple plans to add the illusion of 3D to future iOS devices.
Much like the head-tracking demo we've already seen that creates the illusion of 3D on the iPad, Apple's concept would track the movement of the iPhone user's eyes and alter the display accordingly. Finger position would also determine how the interface would move to provide "depth" to the iPhone screen.
The illusion would be that your finger is reaching behind the glass. Not only this, but as your eye glances to different items on the home screen, the icons could light up or grow in size. Comparing the position of the device to the direction in which the user is looking in real time can generate all kinds of incredible virtual 3D environments by tricking our senses.
Apple explains that a variety of sensors would be used to collect data for the 3D experience, including an accelerometer, compass, gyrometer and GPS unit, as well as a front facing camera and an image sensor. The patent envisions this technology being implemented on future iPhones, iPads, iPods, televisions, and notebook and desktop computers. The concept would also be of interest to game developers, who would have the resources to create a whole new type of 3D gaming experience using eye tracking and other components of the system.