As a user of Apple products, I relish the mystery of what’s coming next, eagerly consuming the rumors and speculation dished out by the blogs and Web sites. As a patent lawyer, however, I can’t help but to eye with skepticism each new patent application served up by an Apple watcher as potential evidence of the next big thing. A published patent, by itself, is an unreliable predictor of a new product or feature. It’s not that patents fail to give an accurate picture of what Apple works on. Apple appears to be aggressively patenting all of its innovations.