Apple's esthetic police headed by Jonathan Ive have been hard at work inventing ways to kill off device housing apertures for good. Apple has been thinking of killing off iDevice speaker grills by having sound carry through specialized cover glass. They're switching to the audio connector working with the Lightning port to kill off the standard audio jack aperture. And now Apple wants to add to their collection of aperture killing methods by having light transmissive fillers fill holes when not in use so as to appear as if they're not really there. Do you think that Apple's idea is just a little farfetched? If you do, then think again, because Apple's current wireless keyboard for the iMac already uses this invention. In a way this would make it a patent fulfilled, though Apple's invention talks about taking this idea further to other devices. After checking out my iMac's keyboard indicator light when off and on, I was rather surprised at just how well this invention really works.
Earlier today we posted a report titled "Apple Patent Reveals a 3D Zoom-Based Gesture User Interface." That particular patent application stemmed from Apple's acquisition of PrimeSense, the company whose technology was used in Microsoft's Kinect. To show you that Apple is serious about air-gesturing, another patent application has surfaced today that has nothing to do with PrimeSense's technology and yet shares the same vision. This time air-gesturing is being considered and aimed at iDevices, Macs and for use at the Apple Store. The air-gesturing system is also recognized in Apple's patent filings as a touchless gesturing system. In the big picture, Apple's touchless gesturing system is quite extensive. Apple's research that was revealed today shows us that air gesturing may be coming to a future version of Apple TV, iDevices like the iPhone and iPad all the way through to Macs and beyond. Who do we thank for this cool patent application today – Apple or Santa? Either way it's a nice surprise.
On Christmas day 2014 the U.S. Patent and Trademark office reveals one of PrimeSense's key technologies relating to a 3D sensing device that is operated using a unique in-air gesturing system and user interface. The technology found its way into Microsoft's Kinect. The system could one day find its way into Apple TV and future Macs.
Sony Pictures Entertainment officially announced that the movie "The Interview" will be available online across the United States starting today, Christmas Eve. According to Sony's press release, Apple fans will be able to access the movie on their Apple TV box available via youtube.com/movies. The reasoning for Apple not directly participating via iTunes is unknown at this time. Sony specifically thanked Google and Microsoft for their participation leaving Apple out. It'll be interesting to hear Apple's position on this at some point in the future.
I was shopping for new display the other day when I stumbled onto a display from BenQ that featured special Low Blue Light technology designed specifically to target the problem of blue light exposure, which can cause eye damage and sleeplessness. The monitor comes with four preset Low Blue Light modes (30% reduction, Web-surfing – 50% reduction, Office – 60% reduction, and Reading – 70% reduction.) Considering that I and others work very long hours in front of a display each day, this kind of feature could be appealing. Earlier this morning I discovered a newly published patent application from Apple in Europe dated today that covers this basic theme of reducing bright backlight reflections using a special blue filter. Without recently bumping into the BenQ information, I wouldn't have understood the potential benefit of using such a special blue filter in a display.
In July we posted a report titled "Angry Samsung Takes Back Billions in Bonuses from 100 Samsung Mobile Division Executives for Poor Performance." Since that time, Samsung's sales have declined further and in the last quarter, profits dramatically collapsed, especially in their mobile and display businesses. In the last week, Samsung made the decision to freeze most salaries while reducing salaries to executives in divisions that didn't perform. Earlier today we report that Samsung's flagship Experience Store in London shut its doors due to poor sales and inability to match the Apple Store experience. What a gloomy holiday time it'll be for Samsung sales and retail executives.
Last weekend we reported that Apple had filed a trademark application in Hong Kong for their revised Mac logo. Today the U.S. Patent Office published two trademark applications from Apple for the same logo in color and black and white. The new Mac Logo better reflects Apple's flatter User Interface that was first introduced last year with iOS 7 and now extends through to OS X Yosemite.
A new report this morning states that Apple iPhone 6 ranked as the number one smartphone and Apple the number one vendor in the Taiwan market in November, in terms of both sales volume and sales value, according to data compiled by local retail channels. Apple's iPhone 6 took 4 out of the top 5 smartphone sold.
On December 15 we posted a report titled "Bankruptcy Court Approves Settlement between GTAT & Apple." In that report we noted that the settlement freed GT Advanced from some exclusivity agreements with Apple, giving it control of its sapphire-making patents and lets it retain ownership and sales rights for more than 2,000 production furnaces in Mesa, Arizona. Today, GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) announced that following the Bankruptcy Court's recent approval of its Settlement Agreement with Apple, GT is now pursuing Advanced Sapphire Furnace opportunities for sapphire cover glass applications across the broader smartphone market as well as ongoing opportunities in the LED and Industrial markets.
Last week we posted a report titled "Apple, HP, Microsoft and Intel await Important IEEE Vote this Saturday on the Future of Wireless Technology Licensing Fees." Qualcomm, the world's largest maker of mobile-phone chips, earns more than 60 percent of its profits from businesses licensing its patented wireless technology, collecting $30.5 billion in licensing fees over the past five years. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a professional association that is the world's largest association of technical professionals, held a crucial vote last Saturday. While we await the official verdict of that vote, it's being revealed today that China is putting the screws to Broadcom over licensing fees set for smartphone makers in their country. This will put pressure on the IEEE decision, as companies like Apple aren't going to stand for paying more royalties to Qualcomm than their Chinese counterparts.
On March 27, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that revealed an Apple TV feature that many will appreciate. Today that patent has been granted. In a nutshell, if you're watching a movie on Apple TV and want to get some popcorn and drinks, you may not have to stop the movie. You'll just sync the movie stream from your Apple TV to your iPhone, iPad or maybe even your future Apple Watch and it'll allow you to watch your movie while you're grabbing those snacks. While only time will tell if that scenario ever plays out, it sounds like an interesting little feature.
As the countdown to Christmas begins, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 24 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we highlight is Apple's design win for an upcoming two-story glass front story in San Francisco. We wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
As the leading student-first connected learning platform, Chegg makes higher education more affordable, more accessible, and more successful for students. Chegg surveyed 880 college students attending 2-year and 4-year colleges between December 16th and December 19th to see what electronics such as smartphones, tablets and headphones students preferred. For Christmas gifts the winner with students is all things Apple – but the jumbo chart presented in our report also shows you what other gifts that could make the grade this holiday season.
A month ago we reported that Tickets.com, a provider of state-of-the-art technology solutions to more than 1,000 sports and entertainment clients around the world had launched Apple Pay integration. Today Ticketmaster, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, announced Apple Pay support with the latest update to its iOS app, transforming mobile payments with an easy, secure and private way to pay.
Apple has filed for a number of "Apple Pay" trademarks (word and logo versions) in the U.S., Europe and China since introducing their new mobile payment wallet for the iPhone. Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published two new trademark filings for "Apple Pay." It's evident that Apple's legal team had decided to strengthen the specific verbiage found in the two international classes when compared to previous filings. Report Updated December 3.
Apple's initial stumbles with the release of iOS 8 hurt the adoption of Apple's latest mobile operating system. But after stabilizing, the numbers have been growing steadily. In early November Apple's iOS 8 adoption rate was noted as being 56%. A month later Apple's developer webpage tracking adoption rates now presents a new chart showing that the adoption of iOS 8 has risen by another 7% to a total of 63%.
We reported last week that Apple's online store in Russia was halted due to the Russian Ruble derailing. Today, The Moscow Times via Bloomberg reports that Apple has raised iPhone prices in Russia by 35 percent, its second increase in less than a month to account for the ruble's plunge against the U.S. dollar.
During Apple's iPhone event Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, announced that Apple Pay would be available at Walt Disney World "by Christmas." Right on cue, Florida's Walt Disney World's flagship theme park empire will kick start the use of Apple Pay throughout the many facilities including Epcot on December 24 and eventually extend to Disneyland Resort sometime in 2015.
Last week the BBC broadcast a special called "Apple's Broken Promises" that was heavily influenced and directed by the union group China Labor Watch and like-minded people like Ralph Nader. In my view, the China Labor group guided the documentary and the union members working at Apple plants with an axe to grind made sure the video showed depressed exhausted workers in the majority of the shots. But like any form of propaganda, the actors play to the camera to make a story fit the image they want to portray to their particular audience. In our report below we show you a photo from Apple on human rights. Here the workers are young vibrant cheery employees of a company under contract with Apple. There are two very different perspectives playing out. Apple could put together a video that shows how employees in Apple contracted plants are happy and inspired. It's all in the script. But if any tech company is trying to do something to advance the rights of workers, it's Apple. A patent filing in Hong Kong this month shows how Apple has or will laser etch assembly instructions into the inside of the iPhone in order to assist unskilled workers put the iPhone parts in the right order.
A Patent Troll by the name of Dynamic Hosting Company is suing Apple for infringement regarding visual voicemail. Wikipedia notes that in 2007, Apple's iPhone was the first cell phone promoting this feature. Yet according to this patent troll, their recently purchased patents predate the iPhone's use of visual voicemail. Other companies that Dynamic Hosting Company has sued over the years include Xerox, Casio, Google, Samsung, Epson, Canon and others.
Although it's Nov 19, the US Patent and Trademark Office just published a document sent to Apple dated Sept 26, 2014 that basically states that Apple may be out of luck for CarPlay, a trademark noted as being filed in early August. According to the letter, Carplay Enterprises had already filed for the trademark a year earlier with the mark relating to computers in cars. Is it lottery time for Carplay Enterprises or will Apple dream up a new trademark? Well, it's actually a weird case in that USPTO missed a small clue that was kind of important.
The BBC's report lost its way early on. To make Apple the villain, they show Apple's success and then turn it against them. Apple has designed and created some of the greatest flagship stores in the world, especially in London as their report presented. Fans of Apple products and consumers looking for a great retail experience appreciate the incredible detail found in the architecture of these stores. They appreciate the Genius Bars when looking for device problem advice, repair and replacement in a friendly environment. For an optional $100/yr., buyers of new products could actually be professionally trained in how to use their products. Only recently have other companies even tried to emulate the Apple Store experience and still can't achieve it. Somehow, fans of products that are the best in the world are still being insultingly vilified as being fanatics and cultists. Just saying those words within the context of a documentary shows the mindset of the producers of this so-called documentary.
Yesterday's BBC documentary has certainly ignited a battle of words. Our report titled "Apple Vehemently Disagrees with the BBC's Televised Report called Apple's Broken Promises" received heavy response from across the pond (UK). Today, in an email to about 5,000 staff members across the UK, Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said both he and the chief executive were "deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way." Our report presents you with Apple's full email response to this documentary.