By Anu Passary email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 01, 2013 01:05 PM EST
The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted a new patent to Apple for a laser keyboard, which can project out of a smartphone or tablet, fueling speculations that Apple could introduce the innovative feature in its upcoming iPhone 5S.
The laser keyboard has made cameos in concept videos for the iPhone 5S and recently, the mock-up video for Samsung Galaxy S4 also touted the feature.
Now, a Patently Apple report shares the details of the laser projection keyboard patent that was granted to Apple.
"On January 31, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published twenty patent applications from Apple and the most intriguing of all relates to their invention concerning a new depth perception system," reported Patently Apple. "In one application, Apple describes the new system integrated into an iPad that would be able to project a laser based keyboard onto a table. That would definitely be considered a wow-feature that could excite consumers."
Apple's patent for the probable keyboard shows a diagram that explains how the system may work with a built-in laser projected keyboard for the iPad. However, the image looks more like an iPhone than an iPad.
Patently Apple also elucidates how the system implementation would work.
"In this example, the system may be used in combination with a projected control panel 115 (such as a keyboard, audio/video controls, and so on). The control panel 115 may be a light pattern projected from a light source onto a surface (e.g., table or desk), the control panel 115 may include different light shapes, colors, or the like for representing different inputs," explains Patently Apple.
The report seems to suggest that depending on the implementation, Apple even has the option to expand this feature, not limiting it to just a keyboard but even using it as a projected controller for gaming.
If Apple incorporates the laser keyboard in the upcoming iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, then the company with the Midas touch would change the way smartphones are perceived. We'll just have to wait and see if Apple imbibes the technology in iPhone 5S or chooses to bypass it for the next iDevice.