The iconic Apple logo on the back of your iPhone may no longer be just a brand power. It may be capable of a lot more!
As a further step in its persistent quest to make devices more sleek, durable and rich in attractive features, Apple unveiled a new patent application that suggests embedding a plethora of sensors, monitors, readers and chargers to existing apertures in its devices. And what could be a more aesthetic way of achieving it than the Apple logo itself, or the iPhone/iPad product identifier.
It is well known that the Apple Watch has been under intense research. But if the technology in this patent application comes to life, then the Apple branding will transform into a sensor and monitor for heart rate, skin conductivity, fingerprint reader, and other electrically conductive inserts, apart from condensing the charging point into the surface space of the bitten apple logo.
U.S Patent application US20150185055, filed by the California-based company in December 2013 describes an electrical system that integrates with the existing apertures in a mobile device’s chassis. It talks of designs in which electrically conductive materials are concealed under the Apple logo (or other similar details on the chassis), while other designs show how materials can be embedded into the logo itself. The bottom line is that the logo itself can be made to act as a sensor, incorporating, for example, the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, or skin conductivity sensors that can house health and fitness tracking applications. The same technology can also allow for contact charging systems to be embedded, though details of the charging mechanism have not been explained.
This technology will allow iPhone and iPad users to charge their devices without charging ports. A greater advantage is that the lesser open orifices for charging ports, the lower the risk of device damage by dust and moisture. By getting rid of charging ports, Apple can also reduce the size of the iPhone’s case and create even thinner handsets. The invention also describes optical sensors that can be placed beneath transparent glyph areas.
iPhone 6S or iPhone7 – Who wins the idea?
While Apple has not committed to putting this invention to practice, employing it in any of its products doesn’t seem outside the realms of possibility. As the patent application has been filed very recently, it seems premature to speculate if we might see this invention in action in the much-hyped iPhone 6S, but next year’s mooted iPhone 7 release might bring it alive.
The invention seems particularly well-tuned to the company’s current product lineup. For instance, with the iPhone 6, Apple made the switch from a polished rear logo to an embedded design filled with stainless steel. The amount of space that the logo takes up has more than enough room to hold a variety of biometric sensors.
Considering that Apple is already expected to get rid of the home button on future iPhones, the technology described in the patent application seems like a logical way to embed fingerprint sensors needed for TouchID authentication. The TouchID sensor could even be moved to the back of the iPhone, though it’s possible that Apple would need to create a button with a distinguishable tactile feel to enable users to find the button and unlock their phones.
(Featured image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nez/395180753)