Dreamy new Apple patents imagine personalized 911 fingerprint calling, smart Siri dock with wireless charging

Patents are still so often the cause of drawn-out legal battles between both longtime tech industry rivals and allies, frequently leading to out-of-court settlements but occasionally putting promising endeavors out of business and generally stifling important progresses.

Then again, innovations like a “touch processing module that processes touch screen input to determine if the manner in which the input was entered indicates that the user intends for execution of a particular command” wouldn’t be possible without the USPTO’s supervision of intellectual property registration.

How is that innovative and what exactly does the invention entail? In a nutshell, Apple seems to be exploring the implementation of a literal iOS life-saving feature. This would allow an iPhone user in need of discreet emergency assistance to call 911 by simply scanning their fingerprint in a special, predetermined, unique way.

For instance, you could set your Touch ID sensor to identify a certain finger for good old fashioned device unlocking and a different one for summoning the police when time is of the essence and dialing even a three-digit number “may not be practical” due to “someone watching”, attacking or threatening you. Or you could program a personalized emergency-accessing touch combo.

A separate Apple patent application filed way back in 2012 and published earlier this week after regulatory approval envisions a “dock for a portable electronic device including a housing, a connector extending from the housing to connect the portable electronic device to the dock, a microphone integrated within the housing, and a processor.”

That’s slightly less groundbreaking in the life-saving sense, but it might open the door for a low-cost HomePod alternative of sorts. More specifically, a Siri-powered iPhone dock enabling voice commands at a distance, not to mention wireless charging functionality.

Keep in mind that the iPhone 8 is expected to support cable-free charging, requiring however an accessory sold independent of the OLED handset. This would kill two birds with one stone, also rivaling Amazon’s budget-friendly Echo Dot smart speaker.

Too bad these are nothing but vague concepts, which may or may not materialize commercially somewhere down the road.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).