Apple Wants to Take Your Hand (plus more from Snap & Netflix)

A patent filing from Apple indicates the company is dreaming up new user input devices that are wearable, including gloves.

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feat. Apple, Snap, Netflix & more

1) Apple Gloves – wearable user interfaces

Apple’s dreaming up new user input devices that are wearable, including gloves.

The use cases imagined include:

  • controlling your laptop / tablet / smartphone
  • manipulating virtual reality environments (e.g. seeing your hands in VR)
  • providing haptic feedback to imitate the touch or feel of a virtual object
  • enabling the use of virtual tools (e.g. a virtual sculpting tool)

Interesting to note how Apple are seeing this technology as being relevant to both the existing computing devices, as well as future virtual environments. One can imagine gloves having a similar roll-out to airpods: appearing innocuous with existing devices, but opening the door for whole new forms of interaction in the future.

2) Snap’s context relevant lenses

Taking inputs such as the current time of day, the user’s geographic location, items on your camera feed, audio of your current environment, and other data (e.g., WiFi access, Bluetooth.RTM. beacon data), Snap want to be able to serve up lenses with little or no user input.

For example, on the LHS, Snap recognises that a user is in Venice Beach and preloads a Venice Beach lens, along with an avatar of someone on a shopping spree. On the RHS, Snap recognises that you’re in a specific coffee shop and then pre-loads the lens that the merchant previously created.

Removing the friction of finding a lens means that a user opening Snap automatically enters a new world where the virtual merges with the physical environment. Cool for consumers, and potentially lucrative for the company. For example, imagine merchants paying Snap to show a lens that navigates users in a certain geography into its shop.

3) Netflix’s interactive,participatory storytelling

If you watched the Black Mirror special ‘Bandersnatch’. then you’ll have a good idea of what interactive stories are. They are basically movies that require users to make decisions, and then the movie adapts to the decisions you’ve made. It’s an immersive form of storytelling. But it’s also extremely challenging technologically.

Netflix are thinking about how to create better experiences where when users make a choice, they aren’t confronted with either long loading times, or replaying the scene just before the choice is made in order to give enough time for the new media branch to load.

The most important thing here is that Netflix are actively wanting to make this media format better and faster, indicating that this is an area of interest for the company, not just a one off.