With a company as secretive as Apple, those wanting to divine the company’s intentions and future plans often seize upon the slightest shred of material that escapes the curved glass walls of Apple Park.
So it is with patent filings. While some might see them as painting a picture of Apple’s future products, the truth is definitely murkier. For a company that spends as much time and money on research & development as Apple does, there are always bound to be some technological cul-de-sacs, some roads not taken. Sometimes it’s closer to science fictions: ideas from a future that might never be.
But despite all of that, Apple’s many patents can sometimes provide insight into what the company is thinking about in the here and now. While its engineers are investigating lots of tech that may not pan out, it’s clear that the company thinks there’s value in protecting some of the innovations that its employees come up with—even if they may never quite reach their final form.