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Apple has filed a patent application related to iPhone cases and docking stations; the brand would like to change the operation and user interface of the iPhone based on usage.
Apple regularly files patent applications for its innovations, such as those that recently certified that the Apple brand is working on a foldable OLED screen. This time, Apple wants to change the user interface (UI) of your iPhone depending on the case you put on it or the dock you connect it to. A way to adapt the user interface of the phone according to its uses, for even more practicality and intuition.
A new Apple patent for cases and docking stations
the US Patent and Trademark Office (the US Patent and Trademark Office) received a patent application from Apple (its application number 20220150347 for the curious). Relates to electronic devices and accessories that have near-field wireless communication systems. When a device (iPhone, iPad) detects it, it dynamically changes its behavior by switching from one graphical user interface to another.
The interest is to adapt these user interfaces to the different uses that we can have of the iPhone. The goal is to make them simpler than the iOS interface we all know today: fewer buttons, fewer clicks.
This is what you can read in the summary of this application. Granted, it’s a bit abstract. But where Apple is generous is in the examples of uses given in this patent application.
An iPhone that changes interface if you put it in a special case
For example, if you put your iPhone in a sports case, like the bags you wear on your arm, it could very well change its interface to a user interface designed for sports use. We can imagine that Apple proposes a step counter, music control, GPS display, etc.
This can also work for docking stations. If you place an Apple phone on a speaker dock, you might see the interface change to primarily display audio playback controls. We could also see a docking station appear made for the alarm clock.
You may be using iPhone on the go, in the car, or on a bike. Apple has thought about it: if you connect your iPhone to a Car Dock, the usual interface could change and show only CarPlay, Maps. Likewise on a bicycle where we could see the GPS and sports data appear (speed, heart rate, duration of the journey).
Apple also imagines specialized cases for certain uses. For example: a case made for photography, which would display camera-related functions (modes, settings). On the gaming side, a shell designed for gaming could see the light of day, complete with triggers; instead of having them built into the phone like the Xiaomi Poco F4 GT, they would be in a shell. When you equip your iPhone with the latter, the interface might also change to a dedicated gaming screen. We can imagine settings for triggers, display of your video game library, etc.
Finally, Apple presents an iPhone case concept dedicated to home automation and the connected home, with an interface that includes a remote control, controls for connected objects, music and widgets: weather, calendar, etc.
In this, we would see the iPad more suitable for home automation control, due to its larger screen and the fact that it is a product that stays more at home.
A UI switching system that is just a concept
Warning: these iPhone cases or docking stations are just a concept: we are still a long way from seeing them hit the market or seeing an upcoming iOS update with this system. It’s unlikely that Apple will actually produce these cases and docking stations: there’s a higher probability that this mission is reserved for MagSafe-certified accessory makers in particular. But some products could be designed and sold by Apple: the brand already sells iPhone accessories.
Furthermore, we are not even sure that this dynamic user interface will see the light of day in the future. However, the concept is still intriguing and interesting.
Among the other patent applications filed by the Apple brand, we can highlight a patent for a car sunroof or one related to pressure sensors for its future products.