They've revolutionised the tablet with multi-touch, and now it looks like Apple might be turning their engineering genius to 3D. The computer maker has reportedly patented a new 3D system which wouldn't require you to wear special glasses. What's more, unlike existing glasses-free 3D systems like that in Nintendo's upcoming 3DS, the system would allow several people to crowd round a screen and all get the 3D effect. Avatar sleepover, anyone?

Here comes the technical bit (concentrate!), courtesy of Gizmodo:

[E]ach pixel would be projected onto a reflective, textured surface, which is then bounced into a viewer's left and right eye separately, producing the 3D, or stereoscopic, effect. [The system] would sense the locations of both eyes of each viewer, so multiple people could watch from a variety of angles.

Sounds pretty exciting. Still, companies patent all sorts of things and don't always make them, so this isn't necessarily going to make it into the 2011 iPad.

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