The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this week published a patent application by Apple that details a peculiar vaporizer technology. The document, filed last year, outlines plans for an apparatus that can regulate temperature to release heat from a substance within a canister. It’s also able to keep air out of the chamber of the substance being vaporized.
That little nugget of information might lead you to think that Apple is building some sort of iVape, but we wouldn’t be quick to jump to that conclusion. The patent application doesn’t mention anything about what substance the device is designed to be used with, or whether it’s a standalone product intended for recreational use. The application doesn’t cite a human end user at all, frankly.
So while an e-cigarette isn’t totally out of the question, a vaporizer could mean a number of things, including… an air freshener! What we do know is Apple is working on some kind of car technology, so this patent could well be part of that. Even Mercedes-Benz has looked into custom automotive scent for the car — perhaps an Apple smell orator is in the works. Or maybe it’s an effort to make all Apple stores smell the same, a la Abercrombie & Fitch.
Recent technology has also made it possible to create interactive holograms using, you guessed it, vapor. There’s even a smartphone that you can smoke (and we’ve tried it).
The point is, it will likely be a long time before we ever find out what Apple is pursuing with this patent — after all, the company also holds patents for a bunch of other wacky technology like a translucent phone, an iPad cover with a flexible display, and a paper bag. An iVape would be the most interesting outcome, but right now it’s just speculation season.
Article originally published at The verge