A patent awarded to Apple by the USPTO earlier today describes new technology suggesting future iOS devices could feature built-in projectors. The patent, titled “Projected display shared workspaces,” was filed back in 2012, so it’s not impossible that the technology could be featured in the iPad 5 or iPhones 5S, though it would require an additional lens on the side of the device, which we haven’t seen in any leaked pictures of the new iPhone so far. Yeah, we don’t think it’s happening quite yet.

The technology sounds pretty futuristic and could allow you to control the projected display with air gestures and even interact with other iOS projections, easily sharing data and other content, according to the patent’s abstract description:

Systems, methods, and devices are provided for creating a shared workspace where images may be shared between projected displays. In one embodiment, electronic devices each may include a projector that produces a projected display and a camera that detects gestures made with respect to the projected displays. The electronic devices may interpret gestures on the projected displays to identify image sharing commands for sharing images between the projected displays. The electronic devices may be connected through a communication link that allows the electronic devices to share image data for producing images on any of the projected displays included within the shared workspace.

This kind of technology is similar to the kind of thing Leap Motion is already selling and PrimeSense (which Apple is allegedly planning to acquire) has developed, but it would be pretty incredible to project a video or image directly from your iOS device without any extra gadgets and wires. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long before Apple implements its latest patent.

Apple is currently rumored to be in talks with PrimeSense, the company that helped develop the technology behind the Microsoft Kinect, and we’re starting to see why it might have some interest in the firm.