Posted May 17th 2012 2:59PM
As with any uncomfirmed Apple news, take this one with a big ole grain of sodium chloride. PatentlyApple reports that Apple has been granted a patent for a steering-wheel-mounted remote control for various iDevices.
The patent describes a device looking like the multi-touch controller from an original Apple iPod but mounted to a clamp that grabs your car's steering wheel. Once attached to the outer rim, it would put control of your iPhone, iPod touch or, conceivably, iPad right at your finger tips.
Genius? No. It looks ridiculous and potentially more distracting than just fumbling for your iPhone while driving. The patent says the device is touch-sensitive, so any accidental touch during every hand-over-hand turn ups the volume, changes songs or calls your ex-girl/boyfriend. How's that for driver distraction? On top of all that, many states (if not all) have outlawed anything attached to a car's steering wheel.
Like many companies, Apple files hundreds of patents every year. A good percentage of them are just meant to protect the company's intellectual property and are never used for a consumer product. Some analysts speculate that Apple also files patents for wild ideas just to throw off the competition. This could easily fit into either of those categories.