Why Did Apple Just File a Vaporizer Patent?

Apple has filed for a pretty odd patent.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday published an Apple patent application for a new "vaporizer" technology. The patent application describes a "chamber body" that can take an unidentified substance that will then be "vaporized or sublimated into a vapor."

Apple's patent would take an unidentified substance and vaporize it. Credit: USPTO

(Image credit: Apple's patent would take an unidentified substance and vaporize it. Credit: USPTO)

The patent application, which was earlier discovered by Digital Trends, fails to mention exactly how the technology would be used in the real world.

Still, as a major technology company, it's not immediately clear what Apple would want with a vaporizer. While the company is dipping its toes into the healthcare industry, vaporizers don't seem to be in its wheelhouse.

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However, the vaping community is growing in numbers, thanks in no small part to the ongoing popularity of vapes to smoke everything from e-cigarettes to marijuana. Is it possible, then, that Apple is considering a way to get into the vaping world and capitalize on that growing market?

That sounds unlikely, and Apple has never made any indication that it would even consider joining that market.

However, there are more ways to join the vaping industry than by just offering products. After all, if Apple's technology is heads and shoulders above all others, there might be an opportunity -- if the company so wished -- to license its technology to companies operating in that market. Patent licensing, after all, can be a lucrative option.

It's important to note that Apple, like other major technology companies, files for patents all the time on technologies that never make their way to the market. It's entirely possible that this is just one of them, and vaping is little more than a market that one of Apple's employees -- in this case, Tetsuya Ishikawa -- was thinking about and decided to invent something for it.

In other words, there might be nothing to this patent other than an idea and some interest in a budding industry.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.

  • seenhear
    I've heard of several smartphone makers looking into the ability to "text" or e-send in some way, odors and scents. The only real way to do this (other than waiting for actual star-trek replicators) is to have a device on the receiving end that can concoct what amounts to perfumes using a few basic liquids in varying amounts, then vaporizing them and sending a small puff out to the user. I would not be surprised if this patent has to do with that.
  • Vic Arios
    Although an Apple E Cig sounds interesting, (Apple E' Smell-o'rama as proposed above less so), more likely this is related to recent advances and stated commitments in area of holographic projection (guessing vapor a possible solution to the "media" problem - plain old air doesn't hold an image very easily).
  • Peter_207
    Or this could have more to do with a technique for vaporizing chemical compounds for deposition onto surfaces... but the perfume idea is interesting as well...
  • WakeShark
    I'm thinking it's for a holographic display.
  • Vic Arios
    Peter 207's notion re "vaporizing chemical compounds for deposition onto surfaces" sounds nebulous enough to be correct answer... Only have no idea what it means. Translation?
  • Robert_164
    Could Apple be preparing to offer a smellovision?