“Want to be able to predict the future? Well, maybe not everything in the future, but at least what Apple is contemplating for future products. Interested? Okay, then launch Safari and point it to a href=”http://www.uspto.gov” target=”_blank”>www.uspto.gov,” Rik Myslewski writes for Mac|Life.

“The USPTO publishes its patent applications every Thursday morning, and if you want to be your coterie’s alpha geek, you’ll check it before you’re off to school, the office, or the preschool playground,” Myslewski writes. “Now about that ‘predict the future’ promise: among the couple of dozen or so weekly Apple patent applications, you’ll occasionally stumble upon one that presages future products–maybe not precisely, but certainly enough for you to glimpse what’s going on in the well-shuttered labs of One Infinite Loop.”

Myslewski writes, “Take, for example, application #20060197753, which was submitted to the USPTO in March 2006 and published that September. It describes a ‘Multi-functional hand-held device’ with capabilities quite like those that eventually showed up in the iPhone.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Looking ahead” for the heads up.]