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Unlike Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is not overly forthcoming about its R&D initiative.

Instead of promoting the technology of tomorrow, Apple tends to wait until a product is ready for release before revealing its plans.

In fact, if it weren't for the $365 million acquisition of AuthenTec, investors would be unaware that the company is experimenting with fingerprint scanner technology for its products.

There are some instances where Apple's secrets have been made public, however. Most of them involve patent filings.

AppleInsider has uncovered a new Apple patent for generating and manipulating 3D objects using 3D gesture inputs.

In short, Apple theorizes that users could interact with a touch-sensitive device (such as an iPad) by performing various hand gestures above the screen.

This could prove to be Apple's answer to Kinect.

Built by Microsoft, Kinect is a controller-free motion-based control system for Xbox 360, PC and Xbox One. Apple is thought to be interested in acquiring PrimeSense, the company responsible for Kinect's technology.

Related: Hewlett-Packard's Glasses-Free 3D Tech is a Star Wars Fan's Dream Come True

This patent seems to confirm Apple's interest in motion technology. Many believe that it could be essential to the Mac maker's plans to build a television set.

Microsoft is using its next-generation Kinect to power a host of new non-gaming features for Xbox One, including voice- and gesture-controlled channel surfing. Instead of building a television set from the ground up, Microsoft hopes to dominate the living room through the growth of its new game console.

Thus far, Apple has taken a more subtle approach toward the TV business. Instead of releasing a full-fledged TV set (as many analysts expected), the company has continued to casually push its set-top box.

Known as Apple TV, the device currently offers 13 apps for online video streams, including Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Hulu Plus, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) YouTube and Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) HBO Go.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Apple Apple TV AppleInsider Google HBO GoNews Rumors Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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