Apple Secures Patent for iPhone VR Headset Accessory
In a recent development, Apple Inc. has been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that paves the way for the creation of an innovative accessory capable of transforming an iPhone into a virtual reality (VR) headset. The patent, identified as US 11,677,429 B2, was officially granted on June 13, according to reports from Patently Apple.
The patent application was filed by Apple in late 2021, well before the tech giant’s unveiling of its inaugural wearable mixed reality headset, the Apple Reality Pro. Remarkably, the filing also indicates that Apple’s engineers have been diligently working on a version of the company’s previously scrapped AirPower wireless charger.
The patented technology outlines Apple’s vision for a head-mounted accessory that shares similarities with a VR headset, reminiscent of Google Cardboard. The device, designed to be worn on the head, is intended to house a smartphone, particularly an iPhone. The inventors of this groundbreaking technology are listed as Stephen Schooley, Ross Arriens, Sara Rusignuolo, Craig Ogden, Ho Chung, Vusthla Reddy, Jeremy Bataillou, and Xinping Zeng.
Accompanying the patent description is an isometric illustration that showcases the headset-like accessory, denoted as figure 11-800. The illustration demonstrates the accessory’s ability to wirelessly detect an electronic device, such as an iPhone (represented by figure 11-850). The document outlines the receptacle for the headset and a band that securely wraps around the user’s head. Furthermore, wireless circuitry on both devices facilitates seamless communication between the headset and the smartphone.
Notably, the patent also includes a diagram revealing a wireless charging station that bears striking resemblance to Apple’s previously discontinued AirPower charging station. The diagram portrays two smartphones and a pair of wireless headphones charging wirelessly. One of the handsets is encased in a case that can communicate wirelessly with the charging station. Additionally, the case features a secondary screen displaying the charging status of both phones and the earphones.
It is important to note that while Apple’s latest patent showcases promising advancements, the incorporation of these features into future Apple devices remains uncertain. The company recently introduced its first mixed reality headset, combining augmented reality (AR) and VR technologies, during the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2023. In contrast, Apple’s AirPower charger faced cancellation in 2019, over a year after its initial unveiling in 2017.
Earlier this month, Apple made headlines once again with the grant of a patent enabling the development of smartphones and tablets resistant to abrasions and scratches. This groundbreaking patent hints at the potential creation of a novel material that combines metal and ceramic, promising enhanced durability and scratch resistance. If realized, users may no longer require protective cases for their iPhones in the future.
While these patents and innovations offer glimpses into Apple’s ongoing research and development endeavors, the timeline for their implementation into commercial products remains uncertain. Technology enthusiasts and Apple aficionados eagerly await further updates from the renowned tech giant as it continues to push the boundaries of technological innovation.