The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 16 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group begin with two design patents relating to Cover Flow animation and Apple's MacBook Air SuperDrive and then continue with granted patents for a virtual keyboard for media players, video encoding in iChat, iDVD and finally an important multi-touch related patent covering error compensation for multi-touch surfaces.
Apple Granted Design Patent: Cover Flow – Animated GUI
Animated graphical user interface for a display screen or portion thereof The appearance of the image transitions sequentially between the images. The example appears to be that of "Cover Flow" used on an iPhone.
Apple credits Imran Chaudhri as the sole inventor of Granted Patent D613,300, originally filed in Q2 2007.
Apple Granted Design Patent: MacBook Air SuperDrive
Apple credits Bartley Andre, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Richard Howarth, Jonathan Ive, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas Satzger, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer as the inventors of Granted Patent D613,283, originally filed in Q4 2009.
Apple Granted Patent: Virtual Keyboards for Portable Device
As portable devices become more compact, and the amount of information to be processed and stored increases, it has become a significant challenge to design a user interface that allows users to easily interact with the device. This is unfortunate since the user interface is the gateway through which users receive not only content but also responses to user actions or behaviors, including user attempts to access a device's features or tools. Some portable electronic devices (e.g., mobile phones) have resorted to adding more pushbuttons, increasing a density of push buttons, overloading the functions of pushbuttons, or using complex menu systems to allow a user to access, store and manipulate data. These conventional user interfaces often result in complicated key sequences and menu hierarchies that must be memorized by the user. In addition, as the number of pushbuttons has increased the proximity of neighboring buttons often makes it difficult for users to activate a desired pushbutton.
Accordingly, there is a need for more transparent and intuitive user interfaces for portable electronic devices that are easy to use, configure, and/or adapt.
Apple initially introduced the virtual keyboard for their iPhone. The virtual keyboard has since been extended to their iPod touch and iPad media players.
Apple credits Kenneth Kocienda Scott Herz, Richard Williamson, Gregory Novick, Virgil King, Chris Blumenberg, Marcel Van Os, Bas Ording, Scott Forstall, Imran Chaudhri, Greg Christie and Stephen Lemay as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,694,231, originally filed in Q3 2006.
Apple Granted Patent: Video Encoding in iChat
Apple's Abstract: Some embodiments provide an architecture for establishing multi-participant video conferences. This architecture has a central distributor that receives video images from two or more participants. From the received images, the central distributor generates composite images that the central distributor transmits back to the participants. Each composite image includes a set of sub images, where each sub image belongs to one participant. In some embodiments, the central distributor saves network bandwidth by removing each particular participant's image from the composite image that the central distributor sends to the particular participant. In some embodiments, images received from each participant are arranged in the composite in a non-interleaved manner. For instance, in some embodiments, the composite image includes at most one sub-image for each participant, and no two sub-images are interleaved.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 illustrates an example display for the case of four participants in a video conference. As shown in FIG. 4, the images 405-415 of the three other participants are displayed horizontally on the participant's computer display 400.
Apple Granted Patent: iDVD
Today, many consumers use DVD authoring tools to prepare DVD presentations and to burn these presentations on DVD's, which they can then distribute. An important feature of DVD presentations is the creation of menus and sub-menus that contain scene selections. The creation of such menus and sub-menus is often time consuming. For instance, to create scene selections, the user typically manually specifies one or more sub-menus for the scene selections, and then manually associates each scene selection link in the specified menus to a video clip. Therefore, there is a need in the art for an application that automatically produces menus and specifies scene selections for DVD's. More generally, there is a need for a method that can take marked-up multi-image content from an editing application and produce portions of a marked-up packaged presentation on a DVD.
Apple's patented solution is iDVD
Apple's patent FIG. 2 illustrate a graphical user interface of a video editing application used for creating and editing chapter markers. Apple's patent FIG. 4 illustrates a menu generated in a DVD application based on multi-image content transferred from the video editing application.
Apple credits Ralf Weber, Jeffrey Mitchell and Tim Wasko for Granted Patent7,694,225 titled "A Method and Apparatus for Producing a packaged presentation, " originally filed in Q1 2003. See Apple's webpage for more information on iDVD.
Apple Granted Patent: Error Compensation for Multi-Touch Surfaces
Apple's patent FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary computing system that is capable of using either a multi-touch panel, a multi-hover panel, or a combination of both. Apple's patent FIG. 6a illustrates an exemplary analog channel configured for performing phantom row compensation and/or digital-to-analog converter (DAC) offset compensation. Apple's patent FIGS. 7a and 7b illustrate exemplary mobile devices such as an iPhone and iPod that can include a multi-touch panel, multi-hover panel, and analog channels capable of implementing phantom row compensation and/or DAC offset compensation according to one embodiment of this invention.
Apple's Patent Abstract: Normalization of the built-in DC offset error in each analog channel is disclosed to reduce image distortion in multi-event (multi-touch or multi-hover) sensor panels. By eliminating the component-dependent offset error from each analog channel, each analog channel will generate approximately the same output value for a given dynamic input signal. Normalization can include "phantom row" compensation, which involves measuring the static output value of each analog channel when no stimulus is applied to any row of a multi-event sensor panel, and subtracting this value out of any subsequent output value generated by the analog channel. Normalization can also include DAC offset compensation, which involves setting the offset compensation voltage of each analog channel to some fraction of its normal value, measuring the output of the analog channel over temperature, determining a temperature coefficient, and adjusting any subsequent output value generated by the analog channel to account for this drift.
Apple credits Brian Land and Steve Hotelling as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,692,638, originally filed in Q1 2007.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or Issued Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any granted patent noted above that is not directly linked, simply feed the individual patent number(s) provided into this search engine.