Apple patent hints at the amazing future of Force Touch

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Apple Watch-style Force Touch is coming to both iPhone models this September.
Apple Watch's Force Touch tech could be about to get a whole lot better. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

The Force Touch technology seen in the Apple Watch and new MacBook is pretty great and all, but imagine being able to go further than the relatively simple haptic feedback Apple currently offers — by having your future Mac trackpad actually simulate different textures when you run your hand over it.

That’s the aim of a new patent application published today, which describes a new diamond-layered touch surface capable of using a variety of vibrations and temperatures to recreate a range of textures.

Apple steps up fight against Google Maps with indoor directions

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It might not quite be Harry Potter's Marauder's Map, but it's getting there. Photo: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando
It might not quite be Harry Potter's Marauder's Map, but it's getting there. Photo: Universal Studios Orlando

Apple is attempting to push its Apple Maps software to the next level, courtesy of indoor mapping capabilities, according to a new patent application uncovered by Cult of Mac today.

Filed in April this year, the application describes a method of seamlessly transitioning from a map displaying exterior elements like roads and buildings to one that shows indoor elements, like stores and restaurants.

This technology is designed to work with iBeacons, Apple’s Bluetooth Low Energy emitters designed to make iDevices location aware indoors.

Future iPhones will warn you when you’re going to be late

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Photo: CC Wikipedia
Photo: CC Wikipedia

Apple has been steadily working to improve its Apple Maps service since its disastrous debut a couple of years ago, and a new patent application published Thursday further cements that.

According to the application, filed in March last year, future iOS devices may scour through your data to warn you of traffic congestion on routes you are predicted to be likely to travel.

These journeys could be learned by your iPhone or Apple Watch by way of a smart artificial intelligence “machine-learning engine,” based on the frequency of previous destinations (say, regular appointments), location of events in a user’s calendar, location of events which users hold electronic tickets for, and addresses gathered by analyzing messages in the form of texts or emails.

Siri could be on its way to your Mac desktop

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Siri will answer your questions, but that doesn't mean he/she has to like them.
Siri will answer your questions, but that doesn't mean he/she has to like them.
Photo: Apple

I use OS X’s Dictation feature all the time while I’m working, but a new patent application published Thursday suggests that Apple’s looking to go much further when it comes to having users talk to their Macs.

The Intelligent Digital Assistant In A Virtual Environment application was filed February 4 this year, and describes a Mac-based Siri every bit as smart as its mobile iOS counterpart.

The patent application depicts a future OS X dock featuring an icon for Siri, which could be available to use for dictation or commands from inside various different programs.

How Apple’s smart music tech could push you harder in workouts

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There have been many wearables and quantified-health applications over the past few years, but most have steered clear of proclaiming themselves medical devices. Some of the rumors about the iWatch (such as the fact that it will be able to listen to the sound blood makes as it flows through arteries, and use this to predict heart attacks) may sound a bit too good to be true. But the number of
biosensor and biomedical engineers Apple has snapped up recently makes us think the iWatch could be a device that crosses over firmly into the "medical monitoring" category.According to one recent report, a reason for the long delay before launch is that Apple is awaiting certification from the Food and Drug Administration to get the iWatch approved as medical equipment. Given Apple's recent announcement of the Health app for iOS 8 to collect and show data on calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood oxygen levels and more, plus the conspicuous absence of a health-tracking fitness band in Apple's last iPhone 5s ad, the idea that the iWatch will be geared toward health seems as close to a foregone conclusion as you get for a device that hasn't even been officially announced yet.
Apple's new smart music patent application would fit perfectly within a fitness-tracking device like the iWatch.

If you’re a runner or a gym user, chances are that at some point you’ve put together a workout playlist of some sort, full of the kind of Rocky-esque power ballads you want entering your ears and coursing through your veins as you strive toward physical perfection.

According to a patent application published Thursday, Apple could be looking to take a lot of the pain out of that kind of gain. The application in question deals with a handheld or wearable device capable of controlling the tempo of music so as to affect the mood and behavior of users during exercise.