Apple on Tuesday was awarded a patent for in-vehicle nav and information systems that promise to offer safer operations when on the road. According to MacRumors, the company's tech will focus on screens that offer tactile feedback, which in turn Apple believes will allow users to better keep their eyes focused on the road. The displays are being referred to as a "programmable tactile display."
"It encompasses two main focus areas: A display having features commonly associated with a touch screen, but in a new form which can be sensed in several tactile manners, as well as visually," the patent says. "A tactile selection or adjustment means, such as a knob, slider, or switch, programmable in its tactile or visual nature, and generally operated in conjunction with the touch screen just described."
The actual inventions are credited to Timothy R. Pryor; Apple seemingly acquired the patents, and any variations of Pryor's patents, going forward. Pryor's original concept referred to a Digital Dash, which emphasized a tactile display that could be dynamically reconfigured and used without ever having to look at it. Want to change the radio? Or even the temperature? The technology is designed in a way that users can change such settings without taking their eyes off the road.
Apple's upcoming iOS 7 has already referenced a new "In the Car" option that can potentially connect using the AirPlay protocol, while there's already support for Siri in some car models. The Cupertino clearly has a vision for vehicles in the future; it'll just be a matter of implementing everything properly over the next few years.