The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 18 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this second group of patents includes one that likely relates to a Final Cut Pro feature dealing with an Audio View using 3-Dimensional Plot and another for video conferencing on an iPhone years before there was ever talk of such a device.Lastly, Apple has won a vital patent on the road to delivering a Telephonic MacBook to market.
Granted Patent: Removable Antennas for Portable Devices
Apple has won a major patent advancing the concept of a future Telephonic MacBook. This patent was definitely fast-tracked as the patent filing was only revealed this past August – or five months ago. For the finer details on this patent, see our report titled "Apple introduces us to the Telephonic MacBook."
Two of Apple's Main Patent Claims
Being that this is a crucial patent – the legal minded amongst us will want to know what Apple is claiming to have won. Two of the main claims are listed below for easy reference:
Apparatus comprising: an electronic device having a first magnetic coupling structure; and a removable antenna that is removable during operation of the electronic device, that has a second magnetic coupling structure that is coupled to the first magnetic coupling structure, and that has an antenna resonating element, wherein at least one of the first and second magnetic coupling structures comprises a magnet, wherein the removable antenna is configured to rotate into an extended position, and wherein the first and second magnetic coupling structures hold the removable antenna in the extended position and are configured to allow the removable antenna to be accidently dislodged from the electronic device without damage.
Apparatus comprising: an electronic device having a first springless coupling structure and having a radio-frequency transceiver; a communications path that conveys radio-frequency signals between the radio-frequency transceiver and the first springless coupling structure; and a removable antenna having a second springless coupling structure that is removably coupled to the first springless coupling structure and that has an antenna resonating element, wherein at least one of the first and second springless coupling structures comprises a magnet, and wherein the antenna resonating element is electrically coupled to the communications path through the first and second springless coupling structures so that the radio frequency signals are conveyed between the radio-frequency transceiver and the antenna resonating element over the communications path and through the first and second springless coupling structures.
Apple credits Brett Degner, Chris Lightenberg, Bartley Andre and Douglas Kough as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,880,678, originally filed in Q2 2008.
Granted Patent: Mixed Media Conferencing
Apple has been granted a major patent regarding iChat AV on an iPhone. The point to notice in this patent is that the original filing was made three years prior to the iPhone actually coming to market! Yet another patent fulfilled.
The following patent abstract covers the scope of this patent: Multiple users participate in a conference while taking maximum advantage of hardware and bandwidth capabilities of each participant. Each user's system makes known to a directory service its hardware sending and receiving capabilities. The directory service makes this information available to other users who may then wish to join a conference with the user. An initiating user sends invitations via the directory service to the remote users. Each user that accepts an invitation transmits its network address to the initiating user, who then establishes a peer-to-peer connection with each of the remote users. Each participant system exchanges information about hardware capabilities and bandwidth, and a conference manager determines a best model for connecting each of the participants. Depending on the hardware and bandwidth capabilities of the participants, the manager chooses from a duplicate streams model, a multicast model, and a host-among-peers model for connecting the participants.
Apple credits Bruce Arthur, Marcel Van Os, Stephen Lemay, Greg Christie and Peter Westen as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,881,235, originally filed in Q2 2004 or three years ahead of the iPhone! Patent FIG. 6 clearly shows their intent to bring video conferencing to a mobile phone as indicated in patent points numbers 612 and 614.
Granted Patent: Audio View using 3-Dimensional Plot
Apple has been granted a patent that is likely relating to a feature of Final Cut Pro.
The patent states that "a user might want to edit audio signal data for various reasons. For example, the user might want to apply effects such as echo to the audio signal data's represented sound, or the user might want to cut out a selected time portion of the audio signal data. Sometimes, a recorded sound may contain undesirable elements that the user would like to eliminate from the audio signal data. For example, a recording of music at a live concert might contain background sounds such as coughing and sneezing. When the user really just wants a clear recording of the music, the user would rather eliminate the coughing and sneezing that is heard in the background. Eliminating such undesirable elements can be challenging."
Apple's patent Abstract states that "Techniques for editing signal data using a three-dimensional visual representation of the signal data are provided. According to one embodiment of the invention, audio signal data is displayed as a surface occupying three dimensions. User input, which indicates a selected area of the surface, is received. The audio signal data is then modified by applying an effect to one or more parts of the audio signal data that correspond to the selected area."
Apple's patent FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating a user interface that visually displays an example of three-dimensional representation of audio signal data.
Other Granted Patents Published Today
Apple has been granted a patent this morning relating to the iPod's center button isolation ring. If that interests you in anyway, then you could check out the details here. One of the finer points of this patent that stopped me from yawning was Patent FIG. 5B. An alternative to the now famous click wheel was actually considered at some point in time - though it was likely as a defensive measure. Then again, if we ever "wear" our iPod controller on a jersey in the future (e.g. wearable computer), we might be closer to the Star Trek interface than ever thought imaginable. Freaky, but truuuuue! (Ha!)
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