The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of nineteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Within this first round of notables we point to Apple winning a design patent for their older iPod's outer casings, another patent covering the Mac's unique translucent and auto-timing windowing system for such things as sound and brightness and lastly, and perhaps more importantly, Apple has been granted a patent for a new light display. This new display technology could be one of the keys of pushing the iPad further into the enterprise market.
Granted Patent: Light Sensitive Display
Apple has been granted a patent for a "light sensitive display." This is Apple's second granted patent on this subject which could suggest that it's more than a defensive patent. The first patent was granted in November 2009 and shortly thereafter, Apple applied for a "light pen" patent which tied directly into this "light sensitive display" to provide us with context. Interestingly, a new report surfaced in November that discussed a next generation Multi-Touch Display in development that will be able to work with a stylus and touches made with a glove. The release of such a display in concert with a light pen would allow devices like the iPad to further penetrate professional markets like health care, the legal field and beyond – where signatures and filling in electronic forms is paramount.
Apple's patent FIG. 15 illustrates a handheld device together with an optical wand. FIG. 17 illustrates a front illuminated display which involves incorporating a light guide in front of the liquid crystal material. To improve the light collection a reflector may be included behind the lamp to reflect light that is emitted away from the light guide, and to re-direct the light into the light guide.
Apple's patent FIG. 20 illustrates significant diffraction as a result of a plastic pen. One suitable technique for the localized diffusion of light involves using a plastic pen to touch the front of the display. The internally reflected light coincident with the location that the pen touches the display will significantly diffuse and be directed toward the photo sensitive elements within the display. Patent FIG. 21 illustrates a shadow of a pointing device and a shadow with illuminated region of a pointing device.
Apple's Primary Patent Claim Covers the Following: A display device including a viewing surface comprising: a stack of layers configured to display an image; a light guide adjacent to the viewing surface; a light source for establishing internally reflected light within the light guide; a plurality of light sensitive elements formed within the stacked structure, the plurality of light sensitive elements configured to detect a diffusion of the light from the light guide due to contact of an object on the light guide; and a layer included in the stacked structure, the layer including a non-continuous opening configured to direct the diffusion of the light towards the plurality of light sensitive elements to a greater extent than collimated light.
Apple credits Adiel Abileah, Willem den Boer and Pat Green as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,852,417, originally filed in Q4 2007.
Granted Patent: Timed Translucent Windows
Apple has won a patent relating to timed translucent windows under their patent titled "Method and Apparatus for Displaying a Window for a User Interface." The patent examples were terribly presented in the patent and so I've set two custom translucent timed window graphic examples to illustrate one aspect of the patent that I'm sure that most will recognize below. One is when you're adjusting the sound on your Mac and the other is setting the display brightness. These adjustments are found on your Apple Keyboard and they pop up as you adjust these features yet automatically disappear once you've set the levels to where you want them. The technology behind this windowing system is covered in this patent.
Technically Speaking: Apple's patent covers methods and apparatuses to display windows. In more than one embodiments of the invention, a window is closed automatically (e.g., after a timer expires, or when a condition or criterion is met, or a system input is received) without user input. In some examples, the window is translucent so that the portion of another window, when present, is visible under the window. In some examples, the image of the window is faded out before the window is closed and destroyed. In some examples, the window does not close in response to any input from a user input device. In some examples, the window is repositioned (or hidden) automatically when another translucent window is displayed. The degree of translucency, the speed for fading out, the discrete levels of translucency for fading out, the time to expire, and/or other parameters for controlling the display of the window may be set by the user or adjusted by the system (or application software programs) automatically according to system conditions or other criteria.
Apple's Primary Patent Claim Covers the Following: A method to display a user interface window for a digital processing system, the method comprising: displaying a first window in response to receiving a first input from a user input device of the digital processing system which is capable of displaying at least a portion of a second window concurrently with the first window on a screen; starting a timer; and closing the first window in response to a determination that the timer expired; wherein the first window does not close in response to any input from a user input device of the digital processing system, wherein the first window has been displayed independently from a position of a cursor on the screen.
Apple credits Imran Chaudhri and Bas Ording as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,853,891 originally filed in Q1 2008. Note: The grey background in the graphics noted above are set so as to allow you to view two of the windowing elements representing that of sound and brightness. These elements however, actually present themselves on screen with a translucent background and blend into whatever you're working on without overly interfering with what you're viewing on your webpage or document.
Granted Design Patents: iPod Covers
Apple has been granted a patent for iPod covers. Design patents are pathetically described and though the patent describes "covers" – they're likely better understood as the iPod-shells or outer shells of the iPod. The designs cover two sizes that appear to be for the iPod Classic and third generation iPod Nano.
Apple credits CEO Steve Jobs, VP Industrial Design Jonathan Ive and team members 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, Calvin Seid, Christopher Stringer, Vincent Seid, Eugene Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer as the inventors of Granted Patent D628,799, originally filed in Q4 2009.
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