iPhone Patent Hints at Videoconferencing

An iPhone patent filed by Apple details motion control and a front facing iSight on a future model of the iPhone.

Called "Variable Device Graphical User Interface" the patent outlines a number of new features intended for Apple's new product.

Although it is not clear whether these features are planned for the next iPhone -- rumoured to be appearing in June 2009 -- they are close enough technically to the current generation of iPhone to be credibly thought of as iPhone 4G features.

The front facing camera (known as an iSight camera on Mac computers) lends support to recent rumours that outlined video conferencing as a major iPhone feature. The absence of an iChat application from the iPhone has always seemed odd, and it may well be that the inclusion of a front-facing iSight camera will be accompanied by an iChat app developed by Apple.

The motion control feature is also interesting, although users imagining a Nintendo Wii-like experience may be off the mark. The iPhone already has limited motion controls, in the form of a shake-to-shuffle feature. Apple's patent describes how this could be extended to detect when you are walking with the iPhone. The interface will then expand to display larger items than normal, making them easier to select while you move around.

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