Apple’s Patents and What They Tell Us About Its Future

Apple’s patents give us a glimpse into the future of a highly secretive company

Photo by Armand Valendez, CC0 Creative Commons

Apple has always been known for its innovation, but many often wonder what will unfold next for the tech giants. With a market cap and penetration of $800+ billion, the company could reinvent pretty much any product from the ground up and from any industry they choose. However, without visionary Steve Jobs at the helm, it has been hard to figure out where Apple is heading. A lot of industry analysts say that the proof is in the patent. The government-issued license that gives you the sole right to sell or use an invention. It allows the public a window into the highly secretive minds behind the most innovative company in the world.

Apple files over 2,000 patents every year, many of them are obscure and technical intentionally to keep the public out; however, they do allow you a window into their secretive world. Some of these patents eventually end up on stage at the most anticipated event for tech heads and Apple fans alike, the WWDC, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the legendary annual event where Tim Cook, the CEO, unleashes a shower of new products. Reddit forums and news pages light up with glee endlessly scrutinizing the flow of new products once they’re announced.

There are three areas we’ve taken a key interest in here, the iPhone, their stealth auto project Titan and the industry of health, let’s look at what Apple could come up with next.


The iPhone is without a doubt their top product of the company, a legacy product with over 1 billion in circulation across the world. The iPhone earns seven times more revenue than iPads and nearly six times more than Macs, so it’s no wonder they would invest the most time laying new ground around this appliance.

For starters, Apple is heading toward a future where they want you to have less physical interaction with your hardware. In May 2017, they filed a patent for an interactive three-dimensional display system, meaning a screen where display images can be manipulated in mid-air from your phone. Can you imagine the implications of this?

Subsequently, in February of this year, a type of magic wand or stylus was discovered that could potentially be used on nonelectrical surfaces and in mid-air. Somehow, magically transmitting signals from the wand to your devices. 

Even though Apple has not yet entered the virtual reality space, in 2015, a patent was issued outlining a head-mounted display where an iPhone would pop inside it and allow the individual to create a portable virtual reality headset. We’ve already seen something like this emerge from Samsung, so it’s only a matter of time until Apple enters this space.

Another new progression is around the area of biometrics. With the iPhone X already employing facial recognition superseding fingerprint-based Touch ID, Apple is looking to take this one step further by integrating a unique iris identifier. In July 2017, they were granted a patent where your eye allows you unique entry into all your passwords, platforms, systems and appliances.

And finally, with augmented reality being the next space to dominate tech, Apple is wasting no time getting their hands dirty in the area. They have already been given three applications and six patents. Augmented reality is similar to the three-dimension display system mentioned but what’s significantly different here is that AR employs overlap in its imagery through the use of the iPhone.


Called “the mother of all projects” by Tim Cook, the iCar or Titan as it’s known is another notable project. The company has been working on this stealth project since 2014, with hundreds of employees contributing, but is known as more of an open secret in Silicon Valley. Only recently, several key patents have come to light that shows what kind of supercar this could become, including a collision-avoidance system, internal automatic climate control and the best one, they have filed a patent that allows you to alter the front internal screen of the vehicle, providing virtual content and projection. The iCar is slated to appear in 2020.


Last year, a 28-year-old man in New York had a pulmonary embolism. He survived because his Apple watch detected that his heart was racing. This signals a future where your appliances can help you even more than your close friends and family can. Thus, Apple has started patenting a series of inventions that can scan your vitals by placing your finger on your device, tracking everything from blood hydration, body fat content, oxygen saturation and more.

More specifically, Apple has filed a handful of patents that can measure your blood sugar for diabetes or your blood pressure. Just by holding the watch up to your chest, it can detect your blood flow, pulse and circuitry patterns.

As you can see, all these patents form the backbone of a bright future for Apple. A place where industries are rediscovered and world-class engineering are employed as well as Apple fanboys dream endlessly of the possibilities. However, if you were wondering what the strangest patent Apple ever filed was it would have to be a pizza box from 2010.