AirPods with Ear ID could someday unlock your iPhone


AirPods 3 drop back to their lowest price ever
Apple hopes to someday enable AirPods to identify who is wearing them.
Photo: Apple

First there was Touch ID, then Face ID. Now Ear ID could be on the way. Apple filed for a patent on a biometric system using AirPods wireless earbuds.

The idea is that headphones should be able to identify who is wearing them and refuse to work for unidentified wearers. But if the system is accurate enough, it could potentially be used to unlock an iPhone or Apple Watch without needing a passcode.

Lenses in Apple AR glasses might adjust to wearer’s eye prescription


A patent shows what Apple Glass AR glasses might look like.
Wow, glasses that self adjust so whatever you’re looking at is in focus.
Illustration: Apple

Apple is preparing for a future where you put on a pair of glasses and they automatically adjust themselves to your eyes. It received a patent on Tuesday for a system to handle this process. Self-adjusting lenses are likely intended for the augmented-reality glasses that Apple is rumored to be working on.

This could be the end of trips to the eye doctor to get a lens prescription. The glasses will take care it.

Apple’s proposed iPhone control scheme will take your breath away


Apple Watch or iPhone breath control — Is this a joke?
What if you could interact with your Apple Watch by blowing on it?
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Your hands are full and you need to look something up on your Apple Watch. Engineers at Apple dreamed up a system that would allow you to control the wearable by blowing on it. A newly filed patent application also imagines a breath-controlled iPhone.

So far, there’s no sign this is an April Fools’ Day joke. But it’s possible.

‘Self-healing’ display could make folding iPhone invincible


Apple filed for a ‘self-healing’ folding iPhone patent on Thursday
Of course a folding iPhone screen won‘t develop a crease. But Apple is still exploring how to make this possible.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple is working on a solution for the biggest drawback of folding displays. The first generation of foldable handsets made by rival companies develop a crease where the screen bends, but Apple engineers want to put a bendable display that includes a self-healing material in a folding iPhone.

Fuel cells could power future iPhones for weeks at a time


A fuel cell iPhone or Mac is a possibility.
Apple engineers are always looking to the future. Today, it’s patent for a fuel cell for an iPhone or iPad.
Photo: CC

Rather than traditional batteries, a future iPhone or Mac might be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Apple on Monday received a patent for a fuel cell that might be used in future devices. The goal is a device that can go days or weeks without needing to be refueled.

Apple dreams up tech for a social distance group selfie


iPhone X Portrait selfies
Social distancing and group selfies don’t mix. But Apple might have a solution: the synthetic group selfie.
Photo: Apple

Even in the age of social distancing, the group selfie doesn’t have to be an endangered species. For several years, Apple has been investigating automatically merging multiple images into a group selfie.

And now that the company has a patent on the idea, it could be part of iOS 14 or a later version.

Bendable MacBook could kill traditional hinges


A bendable MacBook stared in an Apple patent filing.
Instead of standard hinges, consider a bendable MacBook.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

A proposed MacBook design change is radical while at the same time preserving the traditional clamshell design. Apple received a patent today for a notebook computer without standard hinges. Instead, it’s flexible enough to bend in the middle.

Apple wants to let you edit sent text messages


Autocorrect errors vs. editing sent texts
Autocorrect fails would be a thing of the past if we could correct text messages.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple designed a workable system to let people edit text messages after they send them. But now we have to hope it’ll be implemented.

This is potentially great news for everyone who ever wished they could fix an embarrassing text.

Today in Apple history: Early iPad rumor gets Apple fans buzzing


iPad Pro 2
According to the rumor, Apple was launching a 15-inch tablet.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

April 13: Today in Apple history: Early iPad rumor gets Apple fans buzzing April 13, 2005: The tech world gets excited when a sketchy rumor suggests Apple is building a tablet computer.

The Chinese-language report claims Quanta will build a 15-inch touchscreen tablet PC with detachable keyboard. Apple will supposedly ship the device in the first quarter of 2006. Things don’t turn out quite like that, but the rumor offers the first hint about Apple’s secret iPad project.

Sweet dreams: Apple might make its own sleep-tracking mattress and blanket


With its new Apple Watch feature, Apple is getting deeper into sleep tracking.
Coming soon to a bedroom near you?
Photo: bruce mars/Pexels CC

The iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and … Apple Blanket and iMattress? That might not sound like the next logical step for Cupertino, but an Apple patent application published Thursday describes a blanket, mattress and, err, camera setup that would monitor users’ vital signs as they catch forty winks.

In addition to sleep-tracking, this could measure users’ movements during sleep, their heart rate, and their body and room temperatures during the night. It could then heat up or cool down accordingly.