Apple looks to be introducing a new iPad and perhaps something new to do with Apple TV at a press event on March 7. So far, the consensus seems to be that we should expect a faster iPad with a high-resolution “retina display,” Siri integration, and perhaps some kind of haptic feedback. That’s what we’re likely to see, but half the fun of Apple rumors is imagining what the “one more thing” will be–that new feature or device that changes how we do things on a daily basis, like iTunes, Siri, or the iPad itself. With that in mind, I’m going to take a moment to do something I normally try to avoid and turn the rumor mill way up. Today, the Apple rumor goes to 11. Just in case I’m not making myself clear, most of these features probably won’t be unveiled by Apple CEO Tim Cook in front of a live audience next month, but they are features Apple has applied or received patents for, so theoretically they could be in the works. And it would be pretty cool if they actually did become a commercial reality. Apple applied for a patent that covers a DJ-styled audio cross-fade feature recently–could this be part of a native DJ turntable feature in the iPad3? If advanced haptic feedback is part of the new slate, I can imagine legions of new self-styled DJs rockin’ the party who think that “wheels of steel” is strictly an automotive reference. Can we have a brief moment of silence for vinyl, please?
3D eye-tracking and those crazy heads-up goggles. What if the reason we’ve been hearing so much about Google’s purported goggles with an augmented-reality heads-up display is that Apple is actually about to beat the search giant to the punch on it? After all, Apple’s got a patent for such a device, and it’s also been working on some pretty far-out 3D eye-tracking interfaces and other patents that hint at a full-blown 3D GUI. But what might Apple call such a system? I’m guessing “iEyes,” naturally. The business iPad. Some fairly recent patent applications from Apple have hinted that Cupertino wouldn’t mind moving its slate a little deeper into the enterprise. There’s evidence that Apple is looking into how it can be used with CAD and other design environments, and it’s also worked on vicinity sensors that could have multiple uses within the office. There are still plenty of problems with the notion of an enterprise iPad, but why wouldn’t a big Apple be interested in gobbling up a little BlackBerry business, if you know what I mean… Finally, the notion of a vanilla Apple TV already seems played out before it’s happened. Why wouldn’t the world’s most successful company go for broke and give us that Star Trek technology a few centuries early? Apple has already been granted patents for a 3D-imaging system that generates an invisible space where users can manipulate holographically projected images. There’s no reason they couldn’t expand this concept to an entire room, right? Come to think of it, if you loaded a virtual nightclub program onto such a system, there’d be no need to use an iPad for the first idea in this story. In fact, as far as we know, we’re all nothing more than avatars in Apple’s massive holodeck experiment…anyone got Keanu Reeves’ number?