Apple patent application details pico projectors built-into iOS devices and as Mac accessory

“On August 11, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a grand patent application from Apple that reveals their plans of integrating mini or pico-like projectors into future iOS devices while introducing a likely projector accessory for MacBooks,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Apple has been working on this idea for some years now. In June 2009 Apple first hinted that they would one day integrate a projector system into iOS devices,” Purcher reports. “In March 2010 Apple’s broad patent application came to light concerning networked projection systems and later in April 2010 we learned that Apple’s research teams had begun working on integrating a projector into a MacBook.”

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Purcher reports, “Today’s incredibly detailed patent application reveals how they’re working on pico-like projectors for iOS devices and how these projectors will work with a shared workspace in presentations. Apple’s patent even details how they’ll introduce advanced gesturing that will be able to interpret shadow and silhouette gesturing associated with presentations in a darkened environment. The level of detail associated with this patent would suggest that Apple’s development teams are moving full steam ahead on the projection system project which will further push the likes of Apple’s iPad into the enterprise.”

Read more in the full article, which includes Apple’s patent app illustrations, here.


  1. Putting projection capability on iOS devices will be absolutely the bomb. If you think iDevice sales are now phenomenal, you ain’t seen nothing yet. They will absolutely explode, especially for business users who need to do presentations, if projection capability is inserted.

    The tech is already there. I recently saw a Sony camcorder where you can project your just-shot video onto a surface of up to 60″ diagonal with great quality.

    Another feature I’d like to see is for iDevices to have the ability to wirelessly set up and burn an optical disc on a burner that is within range. If Jennifer likes the songs I have on my iPad, I could just get a playlist together on the spot, and get a CD burnt without having to move from the couch.

      1. Which to me is a bit of a pity. Apple usually knows what they are doing, but I think writable optical discs still have some future. They remain the cheapest, probably the safest (in terms of getting infected or “crashing”) and the most convenient for seldom-used-data backup and some kinds of usage e.g. playing songs in your car. I know there are alternatives out there for most of these things, but in my humble opinion, the obituary of the optical disc is being written a little too early.

        1. Hey buddy, buy an external hard drive to do your backups. DVD’s are passé, there’s no future in the medium. You could look at the Western Digital line of external hard drives. I don’t know what you budget is but you could pick up a 1TB drive for $75. Check out Amazon – they give good discounts.

  2. Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to sell a pico projector accessory that is AirPlay display mirroring capable? Otherwise 1) it adds bulk and weight 2) it adds cost and 3) iOS devices are meant to be held. Without the device being perfectly still on a surface, you’re going to make your audience sea sick. Why not just plop down a battery-powered AirPlay Pico on a desk and walk, gesture and move around with your iOS device?

    1. Yea but the whole technology will be where you can still use your IDEvice as you normally would but still have a perfect picture displayed now that would be cool they don’t want you having device leave your hands (:

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