Apple was awarded a patent for a head-mounted display device, which uses an inserted iPhone for a screen in similar fashion to Google's Cardboard project or Samsung's Gear VR.
The patent, entitled "Head-Mounted Display Apparatus for Retaining a Portable Electronic Device with Display," was filed way back in Sept. 2008.
The filing shows a large set of glasses with a slot for a mobile device, along with built-in earphones and a wireless remote control that users can hold in their hand while plugged in to the system.
Apple's system would help users avoid the "inconvenient and cumbersome" alternative of connecting a device to a PC through wires. Illustrations with the patent show a new head-mounted hardware accessory that would have a device like an iPhone placed inside it.
"The frame may place a display screen of the portable electronic device in front of the user's eyes," the patent reads. "The display screen of the portable electronic device may act as the primary display screen of the head-mounted device."
Apple's patent 20150049926 includes concepts for a finger sensor that would identify the placement of a user's finger. The technology could include a processor capable of attempting to authenticate a fingerprint scan using "finger-matching biometric data of the user's finger at an unknown rotational angle relative to a known rotational angle."
This means TouchID users could unlock their device at any angle just by using their finger.
The U.S. government makes patent applications public only after 18 months as past. As of 18 months ago, Apple has filed for 290 patents to speed up battery technologies or other car-related features, according to Reuters. In comparison, Samsung had close to 900 filings involving auto battery technology alone.
Earlier this month, battery maker A123 Systems sued Apple for poaching five of its top engineers. Apple has hired at least seven other A123 employees and 18 from Tesla since 2013.
The A123 lawsuit indicates Apple is building its own battery division, something that Apple hasn't commented on yet.