iPhone 5 could boast of a 3-D interactive screen complete with eye-tracking and ambient light sensitivity, according to a new patent Apple was awarded Feb. 13. The new virtual interface takes advantage of Kinect-like motion sensors and face recognition software to follow along with where your eyes are looking. It could even do things like expand icons when your eyes move across them. Additionally, those same icons could appear to have their own shadows, depending on where the surrounding light is coming from. This effect would create a more fun, realistic and interactive feel to the amazing sounding display.
In turn, these effects would be key to things like gaming on the iPhone and the new feature would alter the smartphone landscape in a way only Apple seems capable of. Here's how Apple describes the idea in its patent application:
It is possible to render the virtual 3D operating system environment as having a recessed bento box form factor inside the display. As the user rotates the device, he or she could look into each cubby hole of the bento box independently. It would also then be possible, via the use of a front-facing camera, to have visual spotlight effects follow the user's gaze, (i.e) by having the spotlight effect shine on the place in the display that the user is currently looking into.
Furthermore, Apple describes a way to see behind objects in this 3-D fashion, and interact with them in a way that makes it seem like your finger is going right into the device itself.
Techniques would make it possible to simulate collision effects and other physical manifestations of reality within the virtual 3D operating system environment.
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Apple says the technology could be used in laptops, smartphones, desktops, tablets and even televisions. Tell us in the comments if you think this will be included in the new iPhone or if you think it's more likely to be in the iPad 4.