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Apple is working on iPhone designs we’ve never seen before: What we know so far

The USPTO published 77 patent filings granted to Apple this week that covers interesting technological developments and a bunch of “novel” MacBook, iPhone and iPad designs

One of the patents covers and iPhone and an iPad with a secondary screen at the back. 
One of the patents covers and iPhone and an iPad with a secondary screen at the back.  (Robin Sinha/HT Tech)

There is a reason why Apple files a patent for everything. Back in 2006, Creative Technology had sued Apple alleging that the iPod interface infringed their media player patents. Apple had settled that dispute by paying $100 million and while that went away without too much trouble, this lawsuit has a huge impact on how Apple protected its intellectual properties.

Reports have it that Steve Jobs was furious after this settlement and told all of Apple’s top managers that all the company would patent each and every single idea and innovation its engineers came up with. And it was only a matter of time that Apple engineers started meeting UP lawyers on a regular basis to decide if anything they were working on needed patent protection.

Following this incident, Apple till date patents everything and also routinely files patents for ideas and tech that might have little or no chance of ever really being used in a product that ships. This essentially means that that while we cannot take each and every one of Apple’s patents seriously, these patents can also be taken as clues to gauge where Apple is planning to take an existing product line.

According to a PatentlyApple report, the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) published 77 patent filings granted to Apple this week that covers interesting technological developments and a bunch of “novel” MacBook, iPhone and iPad designs.

One of the patent applications is for an iPad or an iPhone with a second display on the back that could be used to provide users with information about a subject being photographed. This is a design we’ve not seen before and as per the filing, the second display is also going to come with multitouch technology, reports BGR.

How the second screen on the iPad/iPhone is supposed to work. 
How the second screen on the iPad/iPhone is supposed to work.  (PatentlyApple)

“One of the key-focuses of the secondary display is that it could provide the photographer with ‘stimulus features’ that could make subjects being photographed pay attention to the camera, to smile, laugh on cue as the shot is about to be taken,” the report explains.

Also Read: Upcoming Macbook Pro to add SD card reader, Touch Bar removal confirmed: Reports

On the Mac, there are rumours that Apple might abandon the Touch Bar entirely later this year. However, despite these rumours, some of Apple’s patents cover new configurations for the Touch Bar. One of the patent drawings shows that Touch Bar in yellow, has it appearing at the bottom of a “somewhat curved display”. 

The Touch Bar design on one of the patents. 
The Touch Bar design on one of the patents.  (PatentlyApple)

An implementation like this would mean a little more ergonomic than it currently is, but then it will be of no surprise if Apple never uses this design at all, much like the 3D touch on the iPhone.

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