Apple patent would allow you to switch user profiles on devices with a gesture

Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,154,316) for a “motion-based configuration of a multi-user device.” The details in the patent seem to involve a TV set, but more likely involve a Mac or a new Apple TV set-top box.

For years it was rumored that Apple was working on its own HDTV. I think the company probably was, but eventually gave up on those plans. 

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The newly granted patent would have made for an interesting TV — and, if realized, would make for an interesting iMac, Apple TV, or new Apple display. You would be able to configure/control the devices by gestures.

In the patent, Apple lists devices such as computers, tablet computers, televisions, multimedia devices, mobile devices, set-top boxes, “and the like.” The tech giant notes that many of these are multi-user devices with access to different content, personalization options, passwords and/or other credentials depending on with which user profile the multi-user device is configured for.

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Apple says that enhancing a user's ability to switch profiles on a multi-user device “improves the user's experience with the device and decreases user interaction time, which is particularly important where input devices are battery-operated.”

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “In some embodiments, an electronic device obtains first motion information describing motion of an accessory of a multi-user device that is in communication with a display, and obtains second motion information describing motion of a user device that is associated with a first profile, wherein the motions of the accessory and the user device are detected during the first time period. In response to obtaining the first motion information of the accessory and/or the second motion information of the user device, in accordance with a determination that the motion of the accessory and the motion of the user device satisfy profile-switching criteria, including a criterion that is satisfied when the motion of the accessory and the motion of the user device have corresponding movement profiles during the first time period, the electronic device optionally initiates a process for configuring the multi-user device based on the first profile.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.