Apple researching facial-zooming and quieter iPhone vibration

By , Nov 15, 2012

Apple has applied to patent new technology designed to solve two annoying problems. One filing addresses that “silent” iPhone which you set to “vibrate” but instead noisily dances across tables and other hard surfaces. The other patent application could come in handy for iPhone and iPad mini owners constantly resizing their screens for a better view. However, the most intriguing invention Apple seeks to patent measures the distance of an iDevice owner’s face from a screen, using a combination of the camera or other proximity sensor. Differing modes would then automatically adjust the size of content being viewed…

A ‘comfort’ mode would shrink an object’s on-screen size when your face is closer, while expanding an object when your face is farther away. A ‘zoom’ mode would be useful for studying artwork.

When your face is detected as being close to the screen, the device would automatically zoom in to show details of an object displayed, according to AppleInsider, which uncovered the patent applications.

The auto-zoom feature appears best suited for iPhone owners or iPad mini buyers, where small screens result in continuous zooming in and out. An option could also be useful for those who just don’t like pinch-to-zoom. Hopefully, the auto-focus feature can be toggled off to prevent too many iPad users running for the Dramamine.

As iPhones become more prevalent, the sound of crickets at night is being replaced by the chattering of Apple handsets vibrating an alert of incoming  communications. Apparently, “silent” mode isn’t so quiet.

Apple has stepped in and applied for a long-needed fix. Like the facial-zooming feature, the silent vibration patent involves a bit of technical self-reflection. But instead of your face, an iPhone’s microphone would listen to a device’s vibration and adjust the speed of the handset’s herky-jerky motor.

These two patent applications show how Apple’s devices have progressed to becoming parts of our everyday lifestyle. When the iPhone was first introduced, convenience took somewhat of a backseat to features. Now that the device is so widespread, usability must now come front-and-center.

So a device that introduced the touchscreen should progress to more elegant controls: the face. This is particularly important as the percent of iPads sold have smaller screens not suited to multi-finger manipulation.

What do you think?

How are Apple’s patent applications illustrating the changing role of the iPhone and iPad in society?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    this is all very boring.. can apple please re design their basic IOS UI instead.. that grid is like a dame tube television from the 80s now..

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1100358050 Walcy Carroll

      i think that it could be solved or at least quiet people down by giving user’s the ability to apply themes, allow multiple logins/settings across each device natively without a JB tweak.

    • Charles Luffey

      Yeah, that worked so well for Microsoft with windows 8

      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

        omg windows 8 is painful to look at…

    • Falk M.

      I’m sure that the UI team is just the same team the tech team is. /s

  • http://twitter.com/danielbt daniel bonnells

    I need louder/stronger vibration. I can’t feel my texts sometimes.

    • Charles Luffey

      Amen

    • Falk M.

      Seeing how iPhone will know that a soft surface won’t boost the volume, it willl vibrate as strong as ever. Maybe the reduction of noise in general might lead us to stronger vibration even, as a real strong motor wouldn’t ever be as noisy anymore.