Future Apple Devices Could Feature Environmental Sensor Suite

A couple of new Apple patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have revealed company’s plans to introduce devices with built-in thermometers in order to gather information about a user’s surrounding environment. According to AppleInsider, Apple’s filings describe environmental sensor suites that can be embedded into portable electronics like an iPhone, iPad and “wrist-watch” devices.

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Apple could very well incorporate one or more of the these inventions into the much rumoured ‘iWatch’ to collect humidity, pressure and temperature data. Apple’s filing titled “Electronic devices with environmental sensors” covers a component that sports multiple sensors for temperature, pressure, humidity and sound. Apple also suggests the sensor array include a microphone or speaker so that it can be installed into an existing audio port. The information gathered by the sensor can be processed by the device’s CPU and displayed onscreen for the user.

In a second patent filing named “Electronic devices with temperature sensors,” Apple describes a sensor that can be incorporated into a device button.

“The invention calls for a thermal sensor to be mounted operatively onto a button component that moves within a device’s chassis. For example, the current iPhone 5s volume control actuator would be a good candidate for installation. Switches, slides and other operable parts are also mentioned as possible placement locations. Apple notes that a thermally conductive metal or other material can be used in the fabrication of said button, which then transfers temperature data to the sensor mounted beneath the surface. 

The system can measure any material that comes into contact with the button, including air and a user’s finger. The data can be used to inform the device when it’s too hot or too cold to operate or, more interestingly, display the temperature of a user’s skin onscreen.”

Apple’s sensor package patent applications were first filed for in 2012.

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