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Apple patents screen you don't even need to touch

Apple has won patents on a heart rate monitor and a screen that you can control without touching it.

Here's something to get your heart rate up: Apple has won patents on a heart rate monitor that knows who you are and a screen that you can control without even touching it.

First up is US patent No. 8,615,290, involving a 'Seamlessly embedded heart rate monitor' that scans your EKG reading.

The obvious application for this would be to turn your iPhone into a fitness tracker when you're exercising. But in fact Apple is investigating a system capable of measuring your heartbeat with such precision that it can identify you. That would make it a next step in biometric authentication after the Apple iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner.

The second patent, US patent No. 8,614,693, involves a touch and hover screen. The display panel extends its electrical field above the screen to spot a finger or stylus hovering just over the phone, and reacts as if it's a press on the surface of the screen. That allows you to control your iPhone or iPad without actually touching it.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note do this already, so you can move stuff about even if you're wearing gloves or you have jam all over your fingers and you don't want to leave sticky paw prints on your pristine phone.

The two patents, spotted by AppleInsider, hint at the technology Apple is considering, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll show up in actual devices -- certainly not for a while anyway.

Is Apple coming up with enough cool new stuff? Click play on this video to ponder whether the fruit-flavoured iPhone-flinger has in fact lost its edge...

What would you like to see in the next iPhone and iPad? Do these innovations get your heart beating? Hover down to the comments or have a heart-to-heart on our Facebook page.