We brought you a story yesterday of how IBM was predicting cell phones with holographic technology by 2015.  It seemed like fairly wild speculation at the time, but leave it to Apple to make everyone rethink that possibility.

According to The Telegraph, Apple has been granted a patent for a new type of display that is populated by pixel sized domes that will reflect an image differently to the left and right eye to create a holographic like image.  Think about those bowls you've seen in optometrist's offices where some plastic toy appears to be hovering over it and you'll have a pretty good idea of what they are talking about.

For now the technology is being envisioned for televisions, computer monitors and movie theater screens, but, of course, people are wondering about iPhones and iPads with the same technology built into them. Perhaps we aren't so far away from the 3D hologram chess set seen in the original Star Wars movie after all.

Apparently the patent goes so far as to suggest eye tracking capabilities so that the viewer could even walk around the display and continue to see the image from any angle.

While this could have a ton of consumer applications, the most intriguing concept is imagining uses for engineering, prototyping and the potential medical applications are mind boggling.  Why would anyone need to fly a medical specialist into a city any more when they could see a 3D projection of someone's medical scans?

Of course, as with any patents, this does not necessarily mean the product will ever launch.  It could just be an idea Apple wishes to sit on, but somehow we don't think this is the last we have heard of this.

What say you?  Do you want a phone where you could walk around a 3D hologram of the person you're talking to?