Your next iPhone could double as a smoke detector

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Your iPhone could literally end up saving your life.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

A lot of people thought Apple missed a trick when it failed to snap up Tony Fadell’s smart thermostat and smoke detector company Nest.

However, Apple may wind up having the last laugh, since a newly-granted patent describes how Apple hardware — including iPhones, iPads and other devices — could one day include sensors which allow them to function as smoke detectors in their own right.

Neat, huh?

Future EarPods could benefit from bone-conduction noise cancellation

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Apple's new headphones would block out unwanted noise.
Apple is working on cutting-edge noise cancellation tech.
Photo: USPTO/Apple

Apple’s EarPods could be about to get much smarter, thanks to a newly-published patent application which describes how a wireless headset could use sensors to determine which sound data to pass along to a listener.

Check out the details below.

Apple wants to take mixtapes to the next level

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Remember these?
Photo: EDMSauce

Apple Music is all about curated playlists from Apple’s growing list of experts. But according to a new patent application published today, a future iTunes feature could let users get in on the act by composing “digital mixtapes” for their friends.

The patent describes how users would be able to name their album, select the songs and play order, and even augment them with extra audio files, images, movies, and personalized messages.

Apple invents texture-sensing stylus for future iPads

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This stylus would add new meaning to the word touchscreen.
Photo: USPTO/Apple

Steve Jobs was famously opposed to including a stylus with the iPad, but even he might have changed his mind had he caught a glimpse of the futuristic texture-sensing input device Apple just patented.

According to a pair of patent applications published today, Apple is working on stylus with in-built camera which would allow it to detect the surface over which it is passed and reproduce these textures for the user — even down to replicating the feel of different fabrics.

Apple still determined to bring sapphire displays to iPhone

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Apple is gobbling up sapphire supplies at an alarming rate of knots. Photo:
It's coming. One day.
Photo: GT Advanced Technologies

It would be easy to think that Apple’s sapphire iPhone dreams went down the pan when GT Advanced Technologies went bust, but Apple’s nothing if not persistent.

Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple describing a new method for manufacturing sapphire displays by irradiating the sapphire crystal and then using a laser and “second gas medium” to slice it into the super-thin sheets Apple requires.