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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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.