Apple's reputation as an innovator doesn't seem to be waning at all. Two recent patent applications published Thursday on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Web site show that Apple is dreaming of new gestures using input devices and solar-powered iPods and iPhones. These applications are just a few of a recent parade of patents we've been following.
While these are just filings for patent protection and not actual products, Thursday's "Methods and Apparatus for Processing Combinations of Kinematical Inputs" filing is very intriguing in light of the upcoming announcements. As described in the filing, "Some embodiments of the present invention therefore enable a user to provide a series of gestures as input to the receiving device. Such gestures may include, for example, brushing motions, scooping motions, nudges, tilt and slides, and tilt and taps. The application can then respond to each gesture (or gesture combination) in any number of ways."
Hmmm... using a mouse on a "receiving device?" That could be an interesting way to perform tasks on a tablet device. We've heard some rumors about the tablet that describe new gestures that may take a bit of getting used to, and perhaps some of those are made to use a mouse in the manner described in the filing.
It's also apparent that Apple is quite interested in making devices with virtually unlimited battery life. Another filing unveiled on Thursday, titled "Power Management Circuitry and Solar Cells," describes power management circuitry allowing portable devices like the iPod and iPhone to operate on solar power.
The application details how both solar and battery power sources can be used to power the devices, using switches to reconfigure solar cells on the fly so that the device receives a constant voltage even when some cells are "shadowed" by a hand.
How about it, TUAW readers? Are you ready for a solar-powered tablet you can tap, brush, and nudge with a solar mouse? It could happen some day, although these are patentable ideas and not actual products.