While there is no sign of the elusive iPhone OS 4.0 or the next iPhone 4GS phone, few patents filed by Apple suggest that the Next Generation iPhone will allow you to lock and unlock doors and personal computers.
According to a patent, TB writer Manan dug out, Apple has filed a patent which shows use of NFC or Near Field Communication which allows short-range high frequency devices to exchange data in a range of 10 centimeters or around 4 inches. (cite: Wikipedia).
As you can see from the above images filed along with the patent, Apple is planning to add NFC support to the iPhone, allowing users to unlock computers and doors when they are in the permitted range.
This patent if approved can lead to exciting developments. For example, hotels could get rid of access cards which are required to enter hotel rooms and simply ask patents to download a app to their iPhone, which when fed with appropriate data will open a room. This is just one of the use-case I could think of right now, however, imagine the different scenarios for yourself and how Apple could change a lot of things with this technology.
I am not one to get excited about patents, as the final product is what determines my excitement, nevertheless, this patent definitely shows in which direction Apple is headed. What do you think?