The U.S. Patent Office has published a patent application by Apple for “[a] three-dimentional (“3D”) display environment for mobile device.” The user interface would rely on on-board sensors to determine the device’s orientation in space, and use that information to construct a 3D display interface on the iPhone’s screen.
In a nutshell, you would navigate a phone with this technology in much the same way that you would look around a room. Instead of swiping from screen to screen or opening and closing app folders, you would actually move your phone around, looking for whatever you wanted. The interface would rely heavily on the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer, gyro sensor, magnetometer, light and proximity sensors to determine the iPhone's position. This position data would determine how the interface is displayed on your phone's screen.
Of course, patent applications always require a particular brand of skepticism. The fact that Apple has filed one does not mean that we will be seeing this kind of 3D interface in Apple’s devices soon, if ever. A patent application only means that Apple is exploring the technology, not that they have it in any sort of consumer-ready form. Even so, it’s a unique take on the smartphone interface, and it would be interesting to see it come to life.[Source: Patent Application]