Gaze detection could give iMacs a sixth sense

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Apple patent
Gaze detection sensors and cameras could track your gestures on future Apple devices, like the iMac.
Photo: Apple

Down the road, as you gaze into the monitor of a new iMac, the screen could gaze back.

Apple was awarded a patent Thursday by the United States Patent & Trademark Office for adjustable reflective display technology that can track your gestures, including eye and head movements.

Apple patents way to fix VR headsets’ worst problem

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Alex Heath gets down in the Oculus booth. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
VR headsets are still bulky AF.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Bulky virtual reality headsets may soon look like retro relics if Apple’s designers have their way.

Details of a new patent from Apple reveal the company is investigating different ways to reduce the size of bulky augmented reality and virtual reality headsets. The patents specifically mentions a tech that its rivals aren’t using, which could give it big advantage if it enters the market.

Apple’s been planning to replace Touch ID with facial recognition for years

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iPhone 8 facial recognition
We could be waiting a long time for iPhone 8.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s rumored decision to ditch Touch ID on the iPhone 8 may not be as rushed a decision as some rumors have claimed.

Facial recognition features could replace Touch ID on Apple’s premium handset this year and a new patent filing shows the company has been working on the technology behind it for over 3 years.

Apple’s patented pizza box gets a hands-on review

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A thin crust pizza from Caffé Mac.
A thin crust pizza from Caffé Mac.
Photo: The Outline

Apple’s patented pizza box set the tech press on fire earlier this week when Wired took a behind-the-scenes look at the nearly finished Apple Park campus.

Even though the story packed tons of interesting details about the campus — like how it originally looked like a penis until Steve Jobs’ son intervened — the custom-designed Apple pizza box stole everyone’s attention. The box has actually been on Apple campus for a long time, but was never seen by the public until now.

Patent troll’s $533 million win against Apple gets reversed

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Apple logo
Apple's legal problems just got a big lighter.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple’s long-standing legal battle with patent troll Smartflash is finally nearing an end.

A previous jury verdict from 2015 that required Apple to pay $533 million to Smartflash was thrown out by a federal appeals court today. The lawsuit between the two companies has been ongoing since 2013, after Smartflash accused Apple’s iTunes software of infringing on its data storage patents.

Apple camera system could fix the most annoying thing about concerts

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Concert photography could soon be banned.
Concert photography could soon be banned.
Photo: Vanja Terzic/Pexels

Nothing is worse at concerts than having some dude block your view of the band for 45 minutes to take crappy iPhone pics. But those days may be coming to an end soon thanks to Apple.

The company was recently granted a patent that would allow concerts and other private events to block iPhone users from taking photos and videos of the event by using infrared signals.

Apple scores win in long $533 million patent battle

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WWDC 2016 could be Apple's most exciting conference ever.
Apple's legal problems just got a bit better.
Photo: Milo Kahney

Apple took a major step this week toward getting out of its $533 million payment to the patent troll Smartflash LLC after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled that two of three patents owned by Smartflash are invalid.

The patent agency ruled that the two of the patents shouldn’t have even been issues in the first place because they are abstract concepts and not specific inventions. The USPTO made a similar ruling against one of Smartflash’s patents in March, which could help Apple get the case dismissed.

Apple has a plan to revolutionize the Walkie Talkie

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apple-store-union-square
Apple's two-way radios would be perfect for store employees.
Photo: Milo Kahney/Cult of Mac

Walkie Talkies could be getting a big upgrade thanks to a new Apple patent that reveals the company has been thinking about more than just iPhones when it comes to two-way voice conversations.

Apple’s new patent describes a revamped wireless communication device that connects to a receiver module via Lightning or standard headphone jack, only instead of broadcasting to other devices using cellular it uses point-to-point ad hoc networking.

Apple patent puts a twist on facial recognition unlocking

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Photo: David Schiersner
You selfies may soon unlock (and lock) your iPhone. Photo: David Schiersner

Apple is looking to up its selfie game in a new patent awarded to the company by the United States Patent and Trademark Offices today. The new patent would allow iPhone and iPad users to unlock their devices by simply taking a selfie, rather than using Touch ID or a passcode.

Android phones have had facial unlocking features for year, and there have been iOS jailbreak hacks as well, but Apple’s patent comes with a twist – devices will also automatically lock when they don’t recognize your face.