Apple has been granted yet another patent (number 9,891,719) involving a gesture-based user interface (you can see a list of the others here). However, this one involves a docking station and, unlike some previous ones, doesn’t seem to involve the Mac. Just iPhones and iPads.
The invention involves a docking station configured to mate to an electronic device that enables methods of interacting with the electronic device by impacting (e.g., knocking) on a table on which the device and/or the docking station are disposed and by means of contactless gestures. The electronic device may remain in a powered off state while the docking station continuously monitors for user input. The docking station may have a processor that can detect a user's impact and contactless gesture inputs.
In the patent filing, Apple says that docking stations are used for a wide variety of electronic devices, facilitating the supply of electrical power to the electronic device and providing other features such as a sound system, a radio and/or data communication with another electronic device. The company says that new docking stations require new features to enable a user to simplify their interaction with electronic devices.
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.