Apple have done it again, set the rumour mills ablaze with little more than a line drawing and a patent. This time, it looks like the lawyers at Cupertino are protecting the an i3D concept capable of generating a three dimensional environment in relation to viewers eye movements.
With glasses-free technology, the 3D picture would appear to go into the screen. As deciphered by The Register, Apple are taking this a step further with 3D motion sensing, face recognition and ambient light awareness to ensure the 3D properties would react to where your eyes fell, expanding icons being viewed, potentially blurring superfluous information into soft-focus. Ambient light could also for example cast shadows upon icons making them dynamic as opposed to static.
This technology is a step beyond any mainstream 3D currently on the market and would therefore better the likes of the Nintendo 3DS in terms of capability and immersion making it ideal for gaming if applied to a mobile or tablet device. It would also allow for Kinect-like interaction that would transcend beyond gaming, potentially to interaction with an entire operating system if applied to a desktop.
The patent outlines that the 3D technology can be applied to phones, tablets portable music devices, televisions, gaming devices, laptops and desktops so Apple are most certainly keeping their options open and in turn, nothing can really be taken as a given. So enjoy the concept for now and remember these line drawings when the iPad 5 lands with its re-orienting 3D icons and ambient light sensor.