Skip to main content

Apple patents hint at improved Apple Store and unboxing experiences


Apple wants to make the buying and unboxing experience of its devices a little more seamless. A few patents have popped up over the past few days related to how Apple displays products in the Apple Store, and how it packages devices like the iPhone.

The first patent relates to the 3D Touch table that Apple showed off in some Apple Stores a few years ago. The tablet itself is essentially a big display, on which new iPhones are shown off, and when they’re touched, the tablet shows a water-like ripple effect. This patent is a continuation of a patent from 2016 — but it’s clear Apple is still thinking about the concept and could potentially even bring it to other Apple Stores. It’s an interesting concept and it could make for a more immersive Apple Store experience.

Apple could also be working on a way to make the actual packaging of its devices a little more high tech. In another patent, the company notes the use of devices inside packaging to supply power, data, or both to the device that the packaging houses. The patent is a continuation of other patents that date back to 2007, so it’s clear Apple has been thinking about using tech in packaging for quite some time now.

But what would this high-tech packaging enable? Well, for example, it could ensure that the device inside the packaging remains nice and charged up, so that when the device is finally taken out of the packaging, it’s ready for use. The patent also notes that the tech could allow for the device inside the packaging to be interacted with while it’s still in the box — and the device inside could even get things like software updates while still packaged, so that when the customer finally gets their device, it has the latest software.

It’s an interesting concept, though one that we don’t imagine materializing soon. Not only would the tech make packaging Apple product much more expensive, but it would also create more electronic waste, which is something Apple probably wants to avoid.

The Force Touch table, on the other hand, is something Apple has already experimented with in the past, so it’s possible that we could see more of in the future.

Editors' Recommendations

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
Apple hints at cunning plan to make you spend even more on an iPhone
The iPhone 14 Pro Max standing against a tree outside.

Apple hinted at plans to debut a more expensive line of phones soon, according to a report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, just in case the current range isn't quite as expensive as you'd like. If accurate, a new type of iPhone will start rolling out this year as the company reorganizes its smartphone lineup after the commercial failures of the iPhone 12 mini and 13 mini models, as well as that of the iPhone 14 Plus.

The report comes from a statement by Apple CEO Tim Cook during an investment earnings call last week. Cook noted that Apple's customers were more likely to pay more for higher-specification iPhones than ever before, saying: “I think people are willing to really stretch to get the best they can afford in that category." Gurman connects this to earlier reports of a so-called iPhone 15 Ultra that's rumored to supplement the iPhone lineup in the future.

Read more
Guess how much Apple has paid App Store developers — you won’t even be close
Apple's App Store.

Since Apple launched the App Store in 2008, the tech giant has paid out an astonishing $320 billion to developers.

The data was revealed on Tuesday in Apple’s annual analysis of how the company's various services performed over the past year.

Read more
Your next Apple Pencil could select colors from real-world objects
Drawing with the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro (2022).

Apple recently filed for a patent that indicates a major feature update is coming to a possible future generation of the Apple Pencil. The patent is for image sensors that can detect colors on real-world surfaces, plus their physical texture. If implemented, new Apple Pencils could make it easier than ever before for artists and designers to find and match color samples without needing to search for them digitally.

The patent, spotted first by Patently Apple, indicates that the sensor would be toward to tip of the pencil, meaning that to get a color sample, all someone would need to do is position the "drawing" end of the smart pencil toward an object to seamlessly sample its color and texture onto a paired Apple device. If brought to Apple Pencils, the feature would be a huge step forward for digital artists.

Read more