WHILE PHONE INNOVATIONS stagnate, you've got to hand it to Apple for keeping one eye on the long-term catastrophic cost of our collective addiction to tech baubles. Forget in-screen fingerprint readers and the extinction of the bezel: Apple is in for considerably more apocalyptic problems than maximising your screen to body ratio.
In a report for the CDP - a non-profit looking at companies' environmental impact - Apple had some eye-opening innovations for when catastrophic climate change leads to Mad Max looking more documentary than drama.
"As people begin to experience severe weather events with greater frequency, we expect an increasing need for confidence and preparedness in the arena of personal safety and the well-being of loved ones," the company wrote. But don't worry: Apple products "can serve as a flashlight or a siren; they can provide first aid instructions; they can act as a radio; and they can be charged for many days via car batteries or even hand cranks."
(Just as well really, as your iPhone will likely take several hours to open Safari after successive iOS updates.)
Of course, those features apply to pretty much any smartphone out there, so what does Apple have up its sleeve for the future? Well, a new patent spotted by Patently Apple is particularly eye-opening, describing how future watches or phones could detect deadly gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen monoxide. They could also detect methane, apparently, which should trigger several hundred hours of wholesome YouTube content on its own.
While a patent is no guarantee of eventual development, it does at least show the kind of direction Apple's thought process is taking. Add this to a pile of patents that includes sensors to detect pressure, humidity and gases, and another to detect metal oxide and well… Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Cupertino any more. µ
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