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Top 10 unused Apple patents: Cars, earbuds and iWatches

22 Nov 2013

When Apple knows it's onto a winner, it sticks with it. That's why its line-up of iPhones, iPads and iPods has remained relatively static for the past four years, save for annual upgrades which average end users don't see as hugely significant. 

However, like any other tech firm, Apple has to invent in order to stay ahead of the game, and not everything makes it past the drawing board. Additionally, patents mean power, as seen in Thursday's resolution of the firm's billion-dollar battle with Samsung.

What's great about patent law is that we get to see all of Apple's innermost thoughts about the future; hidden behind incredibly complicated legal jargon and very basic line drawings and flow charts are some seriously exciting bits of future tech. Here are 10 we found particularly interesting.

10. Motion controls

An Apple patent demonstrating motion controlsThis week Apple has been strongly rumoured to be buying PrimeSense, the Israeli firm whose technology is found in Microsoft's original Kinect sensor. This won't come as a surprise for keen Apple watchers, who will have seen its motion sensor patent – originally filed in 2008 – go public in 2010.

The patent is illustrated with a drawing of an iMac sitting on a desk and is backed up by in-depth explanations of what exactly someone could do with a motion-controlled computer. Other attempts such as the Leap Motion have had limited success, but with more accurate controls, motion inputs could find their place in the offices of the future.

In October, Google bought motion-control startup Flutter, and with Microsoft already well ahead of the game in terms of gesture controls, Apple certainly looks as if it wants to play a part.

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Michael Passingham

Michael Passingham joined V3 as a reporter in June 2013. Prior to working at V3, Michael spent time at computing magazine PC Pro. Michael covers IT skills, social media, tech startups and also produces V3's video content.

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