The Apple patent collection is one that inspires not just a vision of the future as it will be, but one that, even in this most recent collection, shows what will likely never be. The newest set of patents revealed this week at Unwired View show a future iPhone that's got features that would change the device not in the software department, but in the hardware - three dimensional screens, speakers sitting behind the front glass, and more.
One of these patents shows tactile feedback - here working with a flexible display technology that'll allow you to have a three-dimensional keyboard. Once you need the keyboard to appear on your display, the keys rise from the surface of the display. Imagine the possibilities if this were able to be applied to games and other apps as well! There's no knowing how far you could go in the wacky world of bumpy moving screens!
This set of patents also points toward a device whose display's ability to be flexible is able to react to sound vibrations. With a laser microphone, it's been suggested, the possibility even exists that there'd be no need for microphone holes anymore. The same would therefor be true the other way around - an iPhone with no need for speaker holes anywhere at all.
Once you've got the iPhone 5 in your hand, think about how much of a future push it'd be to have speakers up front - but not through holes, right through the display. And the display can move for a variety of functions. And the whole device is thinner - why not? You'll find that the future of the iPhone isn't necessarily shown in the Apple patent collection you're seeing today, but in science fiction films that are already in theaters - check out Looper this Friday and you'll see.