Next-gen iPhone may be equipped with camera-based swipe controls

As Apple's expected to launch its next-gen handset this summer, we'll be seeing a higher volume of iPhone-based intelligence in the upcoming months.  Patently Apple has revealed a patent application outlining a system that would potentially utilize the iPhone's camera for touch-free gesture control.

The technology could be used for any number of applications: "For example, during access of a voice mailbox, the user may swipe his finger in the direction of the arrow ... over the lens to rewind the playback of a voicemail message. The user may swipe his finger over the lens in the direction opposite the arrow to fast forward the playback of a voicemail message."

The patent was originally filed in Q3 of 2008, which means Apple has had ample time to implement the technology, if they've decided to do so. Unlike other "improvements", this one seems quite novel, and even useful, to say the least.  While the tech company has only applied the patent to the iPhone at the moment, there's no technical reason it couldn't be theoretically implemented on other devices, such as the iPad.  Well, if it Apple ever decides to give it a camera, that is.

[Patently Apple]