Future iPhones may pack moving camera sensors for external lenses

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iPhone patent
Future iPhone cameras could better support third-party lenses.
Photo: Moment

A lens attachment can extend the view of your native iPhone camera. It can also botch an otherwise nice image if not attached properly.

Apple is suggesting hardware and software changes to the iPhone and iPad camera systems that can reduce operator error and aid an extra lens in delivering that promised DSLR quality.

Apple wants to embed stretchable displays in your clothes

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One of Apple's stretchable displays could be built into your sleeve.
One of Apple's stretchable displays could be built into your sleeve and function as an external screen for your iPhone.
Photo: Apple

It sounds like science fiction, but Apple has created a method for making stretchable displays. This means that, instead of your computer being in your pocket or on your wrist, it could be made into your shirt.

Phones with flexible displays are expected in the next year or so, but these are just intended to be foldable. The screen Apple is just received a patent for could be wadded up into a ball.

Apple hardware, smart clothing could guide the blind and deaf

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smart clothing
Apple is developing a device and some type of wearable that could help the deaf and blind
Photo: Apple/USPTO

Apple is developing technology that would combine a cylindrical device and possibly smart clothing to provide blind and deaf people tactile or auditory signals to navigate their environments.

According to a patent application filed by Apple today, the device would map the environment with sensor data and provide feedback. For the blind, the device could sync with an iPhone to provide spoken feedback to the blind. For the deaf, vibrating signals could be delivered to a wearable, such as a shirt or the Apple Watch.

Apple could let users transfer data by bumping iPhones

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bump transfer
Apple was awarded a patent for bump transfer of data between iPhones.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The federal government has awarded Apple a patent for iPhone users to transfer data by bumping together handsets.

If this sounds familiar, it is because bump transfers for both iOS and Android have been possible through apps, most notably an app called Bump that debuted in 2008.

Gaze detection could give iMacs a sixth sense

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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 hardware
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.