Update: Apple has applied for a continuation patent for this idea today. Patent continuation applications can be filed in one of two circumstances: when inventors want to add new claims, or when the patent office rejected some of the original claims but allowed others.
An Apple patent granted today shows how Apple Glasses could automatically unlock all of your Apple devices, in the same way that you can use an Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.
The patent acknowledges that having to unlock each of your devices individually can be a bit of a hassle when you’re using multiple of them …
Many electronic devices restrict access to various functions based on authenticating the identity of the user. When using multiple devices at the same time, procedures for unlocking each device individually can delay user access and reduce the quality of the user experience.
The patent does not use the term Apple Glasses, of course, but the language makes it quite clear, referring to “an authenticated device that is worn by a user as a head-mounted device.”
The usual thick patent language is used, but the key, as with the Apple Watch, is proximity. Devices are unlocked when you get close.
One aspect of the disclosure is a system for authenticated device assisted user authentication. The system includes an authenticated device worn by a user as a head-mounted device, wherein the user is currently authenticated to access a restricted access feature of the authenticated device. The system also includes a nearby device having a locked state and an unlocked state, in which a restricted access function of the proximal device is inaccessible to the user in the locked state, and the restricted access function of the proximal device is accessible by the user in the unlocked state. The authenticated device can be operated to detect the nearby device, to determine the intention of the user to access the restricted access function of the nearby device while the nearby device is in the locked state, and to issue authentication data. Based on the authentication data, the neighboring device identifies the user as an authenticated user and enters the unlocked state from the locked state, so that the user can access the restricted access function of the neighboring device.
The patent also looks at other options, in case a user does not want the devices to be unlocked without user interaction. These include ‘spatial orientation’ (presumably turning to face the device); Voice command; a bodily gesture; a gesture with the eyes; or a “motion gesture,” perhaps walking toward the device.
Apple applied for the patent in April 2019 and it was granted this morning. Last year I asked for the ability to allow our Apple Watch to unlock our iPhone and iPad, as well as our Mac. Apple seems to be thinking along the same lines.
Little is known about Apple’s headphone plans yet, apart from CEO Tim Cook, who claims that the company finds augmented reality more interesting than virtual reality, and thinks that Apple Glasses could eventually replace an iPhone. Prominent Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that the glasses could be just an iPhone-controlled display device, rather than a standalone device, and that they will be released sometime this year. That’s earlier than most previous reports predicted.
Do you want Apple glasses to automatically unlock all your Apple devices or subject to user confirmation? Let us know your opinion in the comments.
Imagen conceptual: Martin Hajek / iDropNews
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