Forget Retina displays— a future iPhone's screen could be holographic. Apple has secured a patent for a new type of 3D display system, one that could lead to devices that create fully interactive holograms.
According to a USPTO filing from Apr. 24, Apple's "interactive three-dimensional display system" would allow users to interact with 3D images that are formed in mid-air from a device's display. This tech would use sensors to track the user's hand movements, meaning your potential holographic iPhone or iPad would be able to know when you're "moving" a projected object.
The patent states that this technology would use infrared lasers to create interactive 3D objects. A special mirror assembly would be used to track a user's movements, and could potentially recognize gestures like pinching, sliding and dragging. This tech holds a ton of potential for Apple's existing apps, as you might someday be able to pull up a holographic street view in Maps before hitting the road, or see a 3D image of a friend during a FaceTime call.
We've seen glasses-free 3D on touch devices before, but it hasn't always worked out. Design group Set Solution has previously conceptualized a holographic iPhone, though that vision used holograms to create supplementary displays on either side of the device.
While we don't expect Princess Leia to be leaping out of your iPhone 6, this new Apple tech could provide plenty of productivity and entertainment uses for the company's future line of mobile devices.
Image Credit: Set Solution