The patent is for 'Electronic Devices With Environmental Sensors' and describes sensor components which could include temperature, pressure, humidity or 'other' sensors which would share the same ports as the speakers or microphone in a device, avoiding the need for additional openings.
A second filing from Apple details 'Electronic Devices With Temperature Sensors' which would involve building a thermal sensor into a button or switch.
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This could then measure the temperature of anything that touches it, be that the air or a user's finger, so it could essentially be used as a thermometer.
There's no guarantee that we'll see either of these things in Apple's next raft of products but it's certainly a possibility and if not this year then maybe next, as it looks more and more like Apple is seriously exploring sensors.
- Samsung is exploring sensors too by equipping the Galaxy S5 with a heart rate monitor.