Three newly published Apple patent applications filed Thursday show some possibilities for future Apple devices. The first application examines a cooling system for mobile devices which could presumably provide options for cooling future iPhones, iPods and iPads. Configured to drive both a fan and alert device, the patent describes a shared motor and clutch that would save space by powering both the fan and the device’s vibrating function. The description notes that faster, more powerful processors could produce more heat within mobile devices and an internal fan within the device would alleviate that problem; air could be pulled into the device through an input port, whether it be a new, dedicated port, or an existing component such as a headphone jack.
In a second application, Apple presented a new dual-mode headphone design which could also be used as a speaker system. The headphones would be able to detect if they were being used near a user’s ears to determine if they should be in “headphone mode” or “speaker mode”, with the audio signal passing through an amplifier in the latter case that would be bypassed in headphone mode.
The third application involves a new design for multi-use packaging that would allow packaging such as plastic iPod touch cases to be re-used to store or display an item. Various configurations coudl be employed including an integrated hinge to support a lid which could be used to prop up an item for display. All three applications were originally filed on May 2, 2011. As with all Apple patents, these applications do not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offer evidence of the company’s research and interest in various areas. [via Patently Apple]