Gesture controls aren’t new. You can already control products such as the Xbox One, computers and more, using air-based 3D gestures to open programs and execute other tasks. So far, though, we haven’t seen this included as a native option inside an Apple product. It’s possible that will change in the future, because Apple was recently awarded a patent for this sort of technology.
The patent is called “Three dimensional user interface session control,” and it specifically describes “a method, including receiving, by a computer executing a non-tactile three dimensional (3D) user interface, a set of multiple 3D coordinates representing a gesture by a hand positioned within a field of view of a sensing device coupled to the computer…. Upon detecting completion of the gesture, the non-tactile 3D user interface is transitioned from a first state to a second state.” In other words: you can use your hands to interact with an object, likely a camera, to execute tasks on your computer.
Apple imagines unlock gestures to gain access to a computer, and “focus gestures” that allow a user to interact with 3D interface. “For example, if user interface 20 is configured to show movies from a movie library stored on the computer, the focus gesture steps should be sufficiently different from the gestures used to control the movie library (e.g., gestures that select and control playback of a movie),” Apple explains in the patent, suggesting this tech could be valuable in a product such as the Apple TV.
Will it ever come to fruition? We don’t know, but with Apple focus on the Apple TV as the center of the smart home, it certainly seems plausible.