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Apple Patent Emerges Describing Pico Projectors and ‘Schematic Maps’

Just a few days after we discovered that Apple is the owner of the “applepico.com” domain, a patent has emerged showing how the company might use internal or external pico projectors on their devices.

This patent application, which is from February of 2010, describes several ways in which the projectors can be used. Most interestingly, are the details on how two or more Apple devices could work together either as separate displays or as a single unified display, with each device projecting it’s own half.


In the, unified display mode, the cameras on the device could pick up gestures and shadows from a user, thus allowing the user to manipulate the projected image. The single display mode, works much the same, however in this instance, one user could “push” content from their projected screen onto the other devices projected screen.

This technology is still a ways out from becoming “consumer ready”, but we at least now have proof that Apple is indeed looking into adopting the technology in future devices.


Another separate patent application entitled “Schematic Maps“, also filed in February of 2010, with credits given to Placebase (Apple bought Placebase two years ago) co-founders Jaron Waldman and Moran Ben-David, was discovered today. This patent describes a simplified Maps application which could display information relevant to the users’ location and requests.

An example given on how this new concept would work, shows a map with only the precise route shown, and a subset of extra information describing cross streets and landmark, to better help the user get around. In other words, contextualized information in regards to maps and travel.

I can’t see the pico projectors ever making their way to iPhones. It seems like a niche feature for businessmen, but perhaps the idea. As for the improved maps? That’ll be a welcome relief.

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