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

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iPad Pro 2
According to a 2005 rumor, Apple planned to launch 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.

Apple puts iPhone game controller on the drawing board

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Apple puts iPhone game controller on the drawing board
It’s undeniable: Apple is at least considering an iPhone game controller. And one for iPad, too.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple is showing interest in making a clip-on iPhone or iPad game controller. It filed a patent application for various permutations of exactly that sort of accessory on Thursday.

This would be a new product category for the company. But it could be a boon for Apple Arcade subscribers.

Hey Siri, darken the sunroof glass in my Apple Car

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This Apple Car concept is unrelated to the patent, but at least it shows a sunroof.
This Apple Car concept is unrelated to the patent, but at least it shows a sunroof.
Photo: Vanarama

The rumored Apple Car may not be on the verge of rolling off the assembly line, but someday a version of it may have sunroof glass that you can darken or lighten with the touch of a button or with a Siri command.

That’s according to a patent the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted Apple this week for a sunroof with variable-opacity glass. That means a driver could adjust its transparency.

AirPods with Ear ID could someday unlock your iPhone

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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

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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.

Optical sensors could replace Apple Watch’s Digital Crown

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If the Digital Crown is gone, you can't accidentally smash it.
If the Digital Crown is gone, you can't accidentally smash it.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch’s Digital Crown helps users take full advantage of the watchOS interface, beyond using the wearable’s touchscreen. But it looks like future Apple Watches might ditch the crown in favor of optical sensors, according to a new patent the Cupertino tech giant filed.

Apple mulls MacBook with pop-up keyboard

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Apple mulls MacBook with pop-up keyboard
This concept drawing gives a side view of the mechanism that could be used in a MacBook with a pop-up keyboard.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Suppose the keyboard of your MacBook rose up slightly and pivoted toward you when you opened the lid. That’s the idea described by a patent Apple was just awarded.

The concept has ergonomic benefits but also adds moving parts.

Why Apple threatened to pull out of the UK

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Is Apple’s deal to make Google Safari’s default search engine anticompetitive?
If a UK court orders Apple to pay a tremendous patent licensing fee, the iPhone maker might decide it’s better to just leave the country.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

Apple reportedly warned a U.K. court that it might withdraw from the country if it must pay an enormous patent licensing fee. The iPhone-maker is being sued by Optis Cellular Technology over patents Apple says are invalid because they cover standard cellular-wireless technology.

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

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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.