Apple has filed a patent application for a new application that will allow 3D avatar creation. A second patent application surfaced shortly after showing the app running on an iPad.

Patently Apple reports that the avatar application is likely aimed at the 3D video game market, with Apple implying that the app could "eventually apply to next generation displays that include "movable", heads-up and three-dimensional (e.g holographic) systems."

"Apple goes beyond LCD displays and mentions alternative displays such as a movable display and/or a projecting system for providing a display of content on a surface remote from electronic device such as a video projector, a heads-up display, or a three-dimensional holographic display," Patently Apple reports.

Apple's avatars would be similar to those used by Nintendo on the Wii console. Users will be able to construct their 3D avatar by choosing from selections of eyes, head shapes, ears, noses, hair types, colours, accessories etc. User will also be able to move accessories such as glasses around the avatar, perhaps placing them on top of the head, or sliding them further down the nose.

According to Patently Apple, Apple notes that the application could be used for more than just an application on "personal computing devices". The invention could also be used by agencies such as the police for facial compositions for sketch artist renderings.

The second patent shows more detail about the colour palette that would be used in the avatar application, and also shows the app being used on an iPad, which suggests that it is in the final stages of development. Users will be able to define colours of specific areas of their avatar, therefore enabling far more sophisticated avatar creation and personalisation.

Both patents were originally filed in Q3 2010 by sole inventor Thomas Goossens of Apple Paris and published on 29 March by the US Patent and Trademark Office.