New patent reveals Apple’s plan to bring non-contact user interface closer. First spotted by AppleInsider, the patent has been approved and it bears the number 9,250,734.
What could this patent be for? Well, it looks like Apple plans to introduce “Proximity and multi-touch sensor detection and demodulation” to a new series of gadgets. Most importantly, if developed in time, the new non-contact user interface could come with the new iPhone 7. The Cupertino company has taken crucial steps in bringing ever friendlier user interfaces.
With the addition of 3D Touch another set of gestures was added to the user interface. The newly received patent indicates that a third set of gestures would be enabled by the introduction of a proximity sensor layer in the iPhone’s display.
This basically means that the infrared sensors would be able to detect hovering gestures. Instead of using 3D Touch, you’d just hover over the iPhone’s display and the phone would immediately recognize the action.
Provided the technology is not shelved (which is unlikely), the multi-touch display would sport infrared sensors. Infrared light emitted by the pixels would detect the finger above the display as light bounces.
The new patent reveals Apple’s plan to bring non-contact user interface closer with new proximity sensing hardware clocked with multi touch displays. 3D Touch already brought a distinct layer of interaction between the user and the iPhone. Before 3D Touch, the user interface would allow what most other touchscreen handsets do: pinching, tapping and swiping. With two layers of interaction, Apple devices (particularly the new generation iPhone) could benefit from the introduction of a third gesture set.
One instance of how the proximity sensor layer could work is with the magnifying glass. Think about moving the cursor in any text. Instead of pressure-sensitive gestures, a simple hovering over the area could move it to the desired place. A possible preview for this technology is Samsung’s similar hovering gestures with the company’s Galaxy Note handsets.
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