Smartphone industry insiders are seeing even more advanced sensors showing up in upcoming versions of the Apple iPhone, among other devices. Once such tech? Gyroscopic sensors, like those found in the motion sensing Wii remote from Nintendo. The tech, which uses Microelectrochemical (MEMS) gyroscopes to measure rotational movement, helps enhance the motion-sensing abilities for the Nintendo controller. If implemented in a future version of the iPhone, it would allow similar attitudinal awareness functions in the smartphone. The advanced capabilities would allow the device to figure out its position in 3D space, instead of just its angle of relative tilt, as is currently the case.
Apple isn’t alone. According to the report, all of the major handset manufacturers are set to begin using the technology, as manufacturing costs, which are already cheap, continue to drop. An obvious application for this kind of tech in the iPhone is with bowling, golf, and other sports games, which currently require you to swing the phone itself to control in-game action. In addition to increasing the range and quality of those types of actions, the improved motion tech could have major tie-ins with Mac computers and desktop gaming. Nintendo and Sony have both used their handhelds as controllers for their systems, and Apple already takes advantage of the iPhone’s potential as a remote device for controlling your Mac, so it’s very possible that we could see a gaming relationship develop between Apple-branded phones and computers.
There are other applications as well. Better motion sensing would improve the iPhone’s usefulness as a workout monitor, and its abilities as a dyno app for tracking car performance. Don’t go expecting this at Macworld or anything, but it definitely isn’t a far-fetched possibility, since the industry’s definitely heading in that direction, so we could see it in a 4G iPhone.