Curved photo sensor could lead to tiny Apple Watch camera

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Apple is constantly pushing the boundaries with its cameras.
Photo: iFixit

Apple has invented a camera lens that would yield higher-resolution images and would be even tinier than the cameras used in today’s super-slim iPhones.

How tiny would it be? Imagine a total axial length of just 2 mm or even less, making this potentially perfect for the long-awaited FaceTime camera of the next-gen Apple Watch 2.

Transforming Apple Watch strap is more than meets the eye

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How a future Apple Watch could attach to your fridge or MacBook.
Photo: USPTO/Apple

Apple has come out with some gorgeous bands for the Apple Watch, but if a patent application published today is to be believed, future Apple Watch straps may get a whole lot more useful.

Specifically, the patent application describes a magnetic band capable of folding, origami-style, into a standalone mini display, protective case, fridge-mounted magnet, or even an extra screen for your iMac.

Talk about robots in disguise!

Apple makes a splash with new waterproof iPhone patent

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Water way to test your iPhone!
Water way to improve the iPhone.
Photo: LifeProof

Apple today published an intriguing patent application with a unique method for waterproofing future devices — by covering ports, like those for USB or headphones, with self-healing seals.

Described as an, “electronic device with hidden connector,” the invention describes how self-healing elastomeric material could seal each of the ports, which would then be opened by puncturing them with external connectors, such as power or audio feeds, in the event that they needed to be used.

Apple designs its own multicolor 3-D printer

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Could Apple build a mass-market 3D printer for consumers?
Photo: Apple

Apple hasn’t released a new printer since the heady days of the LaserWriter 8500 in 1997, but a new patent application suggests the company is working on a new printer — and it’s no ordinary one, either.

Published today under the name “Method and apparatus for three dimensional printing of colored objects,” the patent application describes a 3-D printer capable of not only printing amazing three-dimensional structures, but doing so in multiple colors.

Tiny shock absorbers could save you a fortune in iPhone repairs

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An avoidable disaster?
Photo: Cult of Mac

iPhones are pretty tough things, but despite all the Gorilla Glass and engineering magic Apple can throw at them, they’re still susceptible to broken screens when dropped.

That could change in future iPhone models, with a newly-published patent application describing an automated mechanism for protecting the iPhone display with a method straight out of James Bond.

Apple takes aim at Facebook with photo-sharing patent

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Facebook's Moments app in action.
Photo: Facebook

An Apple patent application describes a way of identifying people in digital images using face-recognition technology and then making it easy to send copies of the image to everyone in it.

The concept is highly reminiscent of Facebook’s Moments app, which identifies people and places in images and then allows users to easily share with friends, without having to post the pictures to Facebook.

Apple patents a method to display ads based on your bank account

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Square's contactless payments reader is here.
Apple wants to tap into your bank account for ads.
Photo: Square

Tim Cook has been adamant that Apple is not in the business of collecting your data, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t brainstorming ways it could make some extra money by skimming key bits of personal info off your iPhone — like how much money you’ve got in the bank.

In fact, Apple has devised a way to display targeted ads on users’ devices based on what they can actually afford to purchase.

Your next Apple Watch could save you from carpal tunnel syndrome

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Your
Your "other" workout had better be cardio.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has been working on the Apple Watch’s heart-rate monitor ever since the wearable launched in April. First, it was taking your pulse every 10 minutes. Then, it was doing it every 10 minutes unless you were moving around because the company said that a resting heart rate is a better health indicator than a “doing whatever” heart rate.

And that’s correct, but a newly released patent hints at some future improvements for the function that could also spare you some wrist pain and warn you about stress.