Apple completely reimagines the iPhone case

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Apple proposed swinging iPhone case
This is the simplest way of configuring Apple’s highly innovative iPhone case concept.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple engineers dreamed up an iPhone case that’s also a stand and a handle. And maybe a keyboard. It’s surprisingly simple, but also a dramatic departure from typical cases.

And it’s possible the designers see this as more than an add on. They seem to be proposing that handsets and tablets have this case built in.

Apple wants to put a computer on your finger

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Apple smart ring patent
The Apple Ring, in two possible designs, might work closely with your iPhone or Mac.
Photo: Apple

Apple engineers put considerable thought into a “wearable electronic ring computing device” small enough to put on a finger.

The proposed smart ring would have a touchscreen and work closely with another computer, often acting as an input device for it.

Apple finds a way to revolutionize the haptic keyboard

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on-screen haptic keyboard patent
An on-screen haptic keyboard proposal
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple invented an on-screen haptic keyboard with virtual keys that simulate movement, which should make typing a better experience.

A laptop’s hardware keyboard is great for text entry but is in the way when reading websites, watching movies, playing games, etc. That’s why Apple is exploring options for getting rid of the keyboard while maintaining the ease of typing offered by a physical keyboard.

Apple is serious about strapping a camera to your wrist

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applewatch
The camera looks like its part of the loop band.
Photo: USPTO

It seems inevitable that a camera will eventually find its way onto the Apple Watch, the only question is ‘how’? The USPTO awarded a new patent this week that reveals one pretty novel idea Apple has come up with that would allow the Apple Watch camera to be reversible.

It doesn’t look very sleek, but it could be pretty useful:

Apple’s beloved MagSafe connector could make a comeback

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Here's how to hack the new MacBook's power chime onto the Aiir and Pro. Photo: Apple
MagSafe is gone but not forgotten. Not at Apple, anyway.
Photo: Apple

Apple is exploring charging cables that attach to its devices with magnets. This is highly reminiscent of its discontinued MagSafe system.

Previously, this was a great way to keep MacBooks from being accidentally damaged but Apple stopped using it during the company’s transition to USB-C.

Apple wants to add BO detection to iPhone and Apple Watch

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You Apple Watch can't assess the efficiency of your running style
Future Apple Watches might tell you when you stink.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Future iPhones and Apple Watches could pack “smell recognition capabilities,” based on some new patent filings submitted by Apple.

The iPhone-maker has been researching ways to detect air pollution and other dangerous chemicals with tiny sensors that could be integrated into its products. In the new patents, Apple describes how it could use multiple sensors to detect things like spoiled food, body odor and maybe even blood sugar levels.

Future iPhones may pack moving camera sensors for external lenses

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Moment lens on iPhone
Don't retire that wide-angle lens attachment just yet.
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.