Apple prepares gesture controls for iMac and iTV


Apple TV gesture control iTVApple patented gesture control for large screen devices. The patent was named “Three dimensional user interface session control” or simply put – a software UI that allows the users to control devices using body motion, like Microsoft’s Kinect. This also spurred the rumors that Apple may implement this technology into its next generation iMacs and possible into the alleged iTV.

The tech giant from Cupertino is close to developing full gesture control for large screens with this patent. Apple acquired in 2013 Israeli based firm PrimeSense which has a hardware for motion tracking and several patents in this area. With combination of the motion tracking hardware and software UI you will achieve gesture controls for certain devices.

The new patented system can track in 3D motion with depth-optical sensors which can track gestures and translating them into a computer commands. For example – the user could unlock the device if rise its hand vertically against when sitting or standing in front of it. So we may have soon an option “rise to unlock”. But according to the patent it also allows to make gestures with more depth. Like pushing towards and backwards the device could perform different tasks.

Apparently Apple is working hard to monetize the acquisition of PrimeSense. The Israeli company helped Microsoft to build the original Kinect for the X-Box console. According to the latest patent for software UI Apple filled this patent in 2011, so the company is working for a long time into this area. Especially after the deal with PrimeSense.

It is very possible for Apple to incorporate the gesture control technology into its iMacs and Apple TV set-top box. The second device is also rumored to have a new version this year and an addition of such interface could help to boost its popularity. But Apple also may used the patent for its alleged and long waited TV set. For years the company from Cupertino is rumored to work on such device, but for now there is no official confirmation about that.

If Apple announced advanced gesture controls for its larger screen devices it may push back the voice-assistant Siri. This has some logic, because Siri doesn’t shy after its debut with iPhone 4S in 2011 and the tech giant is exploring other options for a new interaction interface.

Plausibility for integrated gesture control in 2015 – 55%

Image Credit: Tom Small (CC)

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