A newly published Apple continuation patent today relates to a next generation Apple virtual store. The patent titled "Enhancing Online Shopping Atmosphere" illustrates that the virtual store will involve some 3D dynamic whereby "Apple Reps" will greet online visitors to assist them with their purchases and/or answer questions about specific products. Apple was granted a related patent titled "Method, system, and medium for representing visitor activity in an online store" in February of this year. Apple's continual push on this front, at minimum, shows us that they're keeping this interesting project alive.
The goals of both online shops and physical stores are generally the same--facilitating the purchase of goods and services by customers. In some cases, online shopping offers advantages over shopping in a physical store. For example, online shops are often open continuously, whereas most physical stores have set hours. Online shoppers are also able to leverage features such as search functionality while physical shoppers are not. However, one drawback of online shopping is that the experience can feel sterile and isolating. Customers in such an environment may be less likely to have positive feelings about the online shopping experience, may be less inclined to engage in the online equivalent of window shopping (e.g., will not linger in front of a display), and may ultimately spend less money than their counterparts who shop in physical stores. Therefore it would be desirable to improve the experience of online shopping.
Today's patent 20100094730 is a continuation patent that further demonstrates Apple's continuing efforts in creating a next generation online virtual store sometime in the future. For more on this subject also review our original 2008 report in addition to our 2009 report titled "Intel, Apple Working on 3D Internet."
Apple credits David Koski as the sole inventor of this continuation patent which was only filed four months ago (December 2009). For other reports on the topic of 3D from Apple or in general, see our Tech: 3D + section.
Another Patent Application Worth Noting Today
Remote Control Systems that can Distinguish Stray Light Sources: Apple's invention relates to remote control systems that could distinguish predetermined light sources from stray light sources. See our related report titled "Apple Granted Patent for Next Generation Apple TV Technology" which covers this subject matter in more detail.
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