The US PTO granted Apple a patent which is so wide you can drive a bus through it sideways. Patent number 8,933,876 covers a “three dimensional user interface session control.”
When Apple bought PrimeSense last year to get its foot in the door of the gesture-control space. Since then, all of PrimeSense’s patents have been reassigned to Apple.
But before it was bought by Apple, PrimeSense developed the Kinect for Microsoft, which made it a central part of its Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles. While the technology is good, it failed to make much impact. There was never a killer app for the Kinect.
The thought is that Apple could do the same thing with the technology that it did with the Tablet – waive it in front of its fanboys and claim it invented it.
But what is worrying is that not only has the PTO given Apple a patent for technology it did not invent, it is far too broad. The patent can be read so any gesture that can be detected by an optical or infrared controller that does anything to an interface is now owned by Apple. It is just as well that Apple is not the sort of company to stifle innovation by patent trolling its rivals…