Just because Apple files for a patent doesn't mean we'll ever see an Apple product using or based on that patent. Just because Apple is granted a patent doesn't mean we'll ever see an Apple product using or based on that patent. It certainly doesn't mean every patent filing deserves a "...for the next iPhone!" or "...in the next iPad!" headline. We've been just as guilty of that at TiPb as anyone, so I'm certainly not jumping on a soapbox here. (I'm slumping against the side of it in exhaustion.)
Apple, like any large corporation, patents everything they can just a) in case they want to use it one day, b) to preserve the idea in case someone else patents or implements it, and c) so it can go into their patent war chest for current and future litigation.
They're fun to look at, to be sure. They're interesting insight into what's going on in Apple's labs, beyond question. But they're very poor indicators of what Apple will be doing in the next iPhone, iPad, or product in general. Primarily, because Apple is secretive and they're not going to let anything get published that spoils the next big product reveal or tips their hand in any way. Either they'll wait until after release to file, or implementations will come long after filings that have since been lost am
So TiPb will still be covering Apple patents in the context of "interesting ideas from Cupertino" and "future of technology" pieces, but we won't be investing any "next iPhone" or "next iPad" hype into them, or casting the content of them as news.
Because that's not what they are.
Update: Shawn King beat me to it. [Loop]