updated 04:10 pm EDT, Thu June 4, 2009
iPhone tech patents
Even as the expected announcement date for a new iPhone nears, information has emerged on some possible future iPhone technologies. Among other newly-exposed patent applications is one for multiple simultaneous file transfers, which could for instance allow someone in the middle of a video call to transmit a song, image or voicemail recording at the same time. The call interface would be minimized, bringing up a second devoted to media selection.
Apple also makes reference to the possibility of split-screen video conferencing, conducted through a mobile equivalent of iChat. The iPhone presently lacks any incarnation of iChat, and in fact depends on third-party apps such as AIM to send text-based instant messages. Video calls could in theory be implemented using the iPhone 3.0 firmware, but would also be dependent on tolerance from carriers like AT&T, which block some forms of video.
Additionally present in the patent the concept of an embedded pico projector, which would give iPhones access to a larger display surface without the need for an attached monitor or TV. The technology already exists in add-on form, but could need substantial shrinking in order to merge with a handheld. An iPhone projector might also have limited use, as much of the device's interface requires seeing where fingers are touching.