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Less than a month and already Apple has something new up its sleeve. According to MacRumors, Apple has released a number of new patents that may lead to the next generation iPhone features, including haptic tactile feedback, fingerprint identification as an input method, and an RFID reader.
Haptic tactile feedback would help users 'feel' the difference while using the phone. One way Apple sees Haptic feedback benefiting iPhone owners is while driving. Apple stated in their patent filing:
Unless touch input components are improved, users that, for example, drive a motor vehicle, may avoid devices that have a touch input component and favor those that have a plurality of physical input components (e.g., buttons, wheels, etc.).
If you see Apple engineers cruising your neighborhoods with iPhones on the seat next to them, it's a good bet they're testing this out.
Fingerprint identification would detect the user’s individual fingerprints. The technology has been in use in laptops for a while. But what makes this patent more unique compared to others is distinct fingerprints may be used for commands. For example, the index finger can be used to play a song, whereas the middle finger can be used to pause the same song. Even though the 3.0 software introduced the shake feature for Apple iPhones and iPod to change the tracks, this new feature is helpful for manipulating the device without having to look at the device.
Apple also looks to be in the market to place RFID into its devices. The RFID placed in the display would allow users to read RFID tags placed in objects. The system is usually used by companies to track inventory. How Apple would utilize the technology is anyone's guess. Maybe the iPhone could be used as a cashless payment system. Swipe your iPhone on a RFID tag/sensor at the movies or gas station and the money gets deducted from your account.
Okay, that would be kind of cool.
Via PC World