A new report from Cult of Mac suggests that Apple may have some nifty new features in store for the upcoming iPhone 5. Rumors that the iPhone 5 will utilize NFC are nothing new at this point, but this morning’s claims cover a very unique feature for the underutilized technology. The report suggests that the iPhone 5 will include a new portable computing function, allowing users to store data and settings from Mac computers on their iPhones. When a handset is waved near any other compatible NFC-equipped Mac computer, the user’s “applications, settings and data” will become available on the computer. “It will be as though they are sitting at their own machine at home or work,” the report states. In short, the feature would provide a new type of remote computing that could eliminate the need for virtual network computing (VNC) or similar technologies. This new feature is anything but confirmed for the time being, but it certainly would be a welcome addition for Mac users. What’s more, it might help give customers with aging Mac computers an extra push to upgrade to newer NFC-enabled machines. More →
In recent years Apple has helped to transform the world of mobile communications, and now, according to a patent recently awarded to the Cupertino company, it is looking to shake up the entertainment ticket industry. By tapping into the burgeoning e-ticket market with a system called Concert Ticket +, Apple’s patent filing details how the complex ticketing system could be used for concerts, movies, amusement parks, weddings, sporting events, and more. Coupon codes and other freebies may also be piggy-backed on top of the tickets. The system includes an electronic device (represented in the filing by none other than the iPhone) that can obtain and display e-tickets. These e-tickets can be purchased directly on the device or purchased and transferred via iTunes. If you already purchased a paper ticket, it can be converted into an e-ticket simply by scanning the ticket with the iPhone’s camera. The electronic device can also use near field communications such as RFID to interact with a free-standing kiosk, which can be used to not only purchase and verify e-tickets, and with the assistance of a turnstile, operate as an un-manned event entry system. Elegant and efficient. Exactly what one expects from Apple.
A trio of Apple patent applications unearthed this morning may help shed some light on future features and functionality headed to a new crop of iPhones. Then again we all know how easy it is for patents to lead absolutely nowhere. The first and most notable of the bunch is a haptic feedback concept employing a “grid of piezoelectronic actuators” that combine to form a fully tactile touchscreen. In theory, the device could vibrate these actuators in different combinations and at different frequencies to provide a variety of tactile responses. Interesting as it may be, this isn’t the first apple patent to cover a haptic feedback solution for a touchscreen — another notable concept came in late 2007 and has yet to bear fruit. At the same time, it’s good to see that Apple recognizes the downsides of touchscreen-only devices and is working on creative solutions for the problem. From the application:
However, one of a touchscreen’s biggest advantages (i.e., the ability to utilize the same physical space for different functions) is also one of a touchscreen’s biggest disadvantages. When the user is unable to view the display (because the user is occupied with other tasks), the user can only feel the smooth hard surface of the touchscreen, regardless of the shape, size and location of the virtual buttons and/or other display elements. This makes it difficult for users to find icons, hyperlinks, textboxes or other user-selectable input elements that are being displayed, if any are even being displayed, without looking at the display.