Apple has successfully been granted a patent that would allow it to open a 3D virtual store, paving the way for a Second Life style world where you could roam around, looking at products, before making a purchase.

The patent is titled "Method, system, and medium for representing visitor activity in an online store", and is described as "Representing activity in an online store is disclosed. Information associated with the activities of a second visitor to the store is received. An indication of the presence of a first visitor at the store is also received. The activities of the second visitor are displayed to the first visitor".

The full details go into a lot of depth - even down to the outdoor lighting reflecting the time of day and season that it would be outside. It's clear that a lot of thought has gone into the possibilities that such a system would offer. Apple has credited the sole inventor as one David Koski.