Apple seems to have a projector fetish lately. They have been filing projector-related patents left, right and center. The latest one describes ways to incorporate micro-projectors in many Apple products, from iPhone to MacBook to an Airport Express wireless router.
The new patent also explains how to use a peripheral device—like the iPhone—to control and calibrate these micro-projectors. One of the methods also describes a projector that could be shared simultaneously by several devices over a wireless network, providing a virtual switching system in which anyone around a meeting table would be able to take control over the device.
Would the next generation iPhone have a micro-projector? The next MacBook? Would there be an iPad Cinema? The latest may seem too much, since the iPad itself is already a good content sharing device for two or three people. The iPhone, however, seems like a good fit for both gaming, TV shows, movies, and business presentations. So is the MacBook, or an Airport Express that could be moved around the office, and be shared by multiple iPhones on the go.
In any case, the idea definitely seems appealing from a technological point of view: I've always wanted to pull a little Princess Leia—asking Obi Wan Kenobi for help—out of my pocket. I certainly can imagine myself using it for gaming or a business presentation. But that would be something occasional, which means I wouldn't pick an iPhone with projector over an iPhone without projector if any significant price difference existed. In addition to that, these devices will be limited by ambient light and power consumption in relation to the device's lumens. At least for the time being. Maybe Apple is just covering their butts, waiting for this technology to be mature and ready.
Would you want MacBook with an integrated projector? An iPhone? A new iPad? Tell us in the comments. [Patently Apple]