Apple wants you to use your iPhone as your internet surfboard, your music player, your camera, your casual gaming machine, oh, and as a phone too. But, pushing the iPhone into every corner of your daily life isn’t enough for Apple. A new patent application hints at Apple’s larger-than-life plans for their iconic smartphone. If things go their way, Apple may one day add “combination lock” to the list of things their heralded handset can do.
The “Motion Based Input Selection” technology would turn the iPhone into a virtual combination lock. What’s the point? Well, there are a number of functions you might want to secure with a simple password or security PIN. As it stands, the iPhone can currently lock the homescreen with a four-number passcode comprised of a combination of single-digit numbers (0-9). But, say you want to secure your iPhone’s RFID-based NFC (near field communication) eWallet feature – which has been rumored as a possible new bit of functionality for the next-generation iPhone 4G – with a simple passcode. With information as sensitive as your bank account, you’d probably want to create a passcode out of a larger range of possible numbers – this patent for a combination lock would make that easy to do.
From the looks of the patent application, the user interface for this combination lock feature would allow the user to create a three-number passcode using numbers ranging from “0” to “45.” The combinations possible with this sort of setup are much higher than the iPhone’s current homescreen passcode setup – 91,125 possible iterations, to be exact.
The “iKey” would serve as the combination to your wallet, the lock to your room’s door, or your password storage app. How this patent bodes for seeing RFID integration in the next iPhone isn’t clear, but here’s to hoping!