Most software has to be designed around a presumed viewing distance, whether it's up close for a smartphone or the 10-foot interface of a home theater hub. Apple has been imagining a day when the exact distance could be irrelevant: it's applying for a patent that would automatically resize any content based on viewing distance. By using a camera, infrared or other sensors to detect face proximity through facial recognition or pure range, the technique could dynamically resize a map or website to keep it legible at varying ranges. Although the trick could work with most any device, the company sees that flexibility as most relevant for a tablet, and it's easy to understand why -- iPad owners could read on the couch without needing to manually zoom in as they settle into a more relaxed position. There's no knowing the likelihood that Apple will implement an automatic scaling feature in iOS or OS X, let alone make it the default setting. If the Cupertino team ever goes that far, though, we'll only have our own eyesight to blame if we can't read what's on screen.