Apple patent application showcases 3D interface

A new Apple patent application has been spied that outlines some really cool ideas Cupertino may be considering for future user interfaces.

The patent application is titled “Three Dimensional User Interface Effects on a Display by Using Properties of Motion” and was recently made public with an original filing date of August of 2010. The names of the people on the patent listed as inventors include Mark Zimmer, Geoff Stahl, David Hayward, and Frank Doepke.  

The application outlines a way for the iPhone and various sensors inside the smartphone – along with with the GPS and camera – to produce advanced 3D interfaces.

The interfaces would apparently be capable of changing based on the way the iPhone is held and the time of day.

Plus, the application mentions face detection – so the interface is shown automatically when someone is in front of the smartphone. That would be a very cool way of unlocking a smartphone without even having to hit a button.

Essentially, the user interface would continuously track the movement of the smart phone or other device while following lighting conditions and the position of the user’s eyes. With that data, the user interface would generate realistic 3D depictions of different objects on the screen.

This new patent application sounds a lot like it could be complementary to the patent application we saw last month for 3D motion control. If you combined the technology outlined in both patent applications it would certainly make for an interesting user interface indeed.