"Hey Siri" support and possibly wireless charging case alongside AirPower charging mat.
Apple Tablet Computer?
The filing, made in May this year but only published this week, covers a "handheld computer" and contains sketches of what look like an iBook screen minus the body of the computer. (sketches in comments thread)
The filing lists Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the company's industrial design chief, Jonathan Ive. It also refers to Daniele De Iuliis, Richard Howarth, Eugene Whang, Matthew Rohrbach, Bart Andre, Calvin Seid and Christopher Stringer all of key members of Apple's industrial design team, with the Power Mac G5, iPod, 17in and 12in PowerBook G4, and others under their belt.
The device is certainly a logical extension of what it's been doing with iTunes and AirPort Express. While its mini wireless access point is good for streaming audio from a host Mac to a hi-fi, it lacks a local control unit. It's tempting to view this latest design filing as the basis for just such a device.
Steve Jobs has publicly gone on record saying that he didn't see the PDA as being a viable option for Apple to persue, and has been blatent about saying the iPod won't be used for viewing video. The introduction of a 'miniMac' may suit both wants, and offer an Airport Express controller in the process.