The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of nine newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. There were four patents that stood out from the pack this morning. The first covered Apple's original Front Row multimedia app which debuted in 2005. The second covered the iMac's unique edge-to-edge glass cover that came to market in 2010. The third covered one of the original iPhone user interface patents that described the use of touch-activated icons and apps as well as its virtual keyboard and more. And finally, an interesting patent about a proprietary MicroDVI connector surfaced this morning that is likely referring to Apple's Mini DisplayPort connector. All in all, today's round of granted patents proved to be a rather interesting mix of technologies.
Apple Receives a Granted Patent for a Proprietary MicroDVI Connector
Apple has been granted a patent for a MicroDVI connector which may or may not be Apple's Mini DisplayPort. Apple's Mini DisplayPort debuted in Q4 2008. Apple's MicroDVI patent was filed one month earlier. The timing and the design described within this patent would suggest that the two are one in the same. Though technically Apple's patent states that "While these connectors are particularly useful as a smaller (Digital Visual Interface) DVI connector, referred to herein as a MicroDVI connector, the concepts described herein may be used with other types of connectors."
Apple's patent FIG. 1 illustrates an electronic system utilizing a connector including a connector receptacle and connector insert according to an embodiment of the present invention. This figure includes a laptop computer 100 that has a proprietary MicroDVI connector that is capable of driving a second monitor.
According to Apple's patent, the new connector could be used on other hardware beyond laptops, such as mobile media devices, a set-top box (AppleTV) and others.
For more information, see Granted Patent 7,963,809 originally filed in Q3 2008. Apple credits Dave Hardell Glen Wheelock, Chris Ligtenberg, Steve Sfarzo, William Cornelius and Bartley Andre as the inventors.
Apple Receives a Granted Patent for the iMac's Edge-to-Edge Glass Cover
Apple has been granted a patent for the iMac's eventual advancement to an edge-to-edge Glass Cover solution. This particular iMac form factor debuted in 2005 in plastic and its glass cover didn't go edge-to-edge. Neither did their 2008 aluminum iMac. It was Apple's fall 2010 iMac (see Step 5) that finally delivered the new edge-to-edge glass cover which adds so much to the iMac's classiness.
Apple's patent describes the use of an outer housing having a bottom chin and side to side stabilizer components that permits the display cover to rest flush against the bottom chin, while upper support components hold the upper portion of the display cover in place. The support components include the unique use of magnets.
For greater details, review Granted Patent 7,965,498. Apple's granted patent was originally filed in Q3 2009 and credits Todd Gotham, Shin Nishibori, Christopher Stringer, Michael McBroom, Daniel McBroom, Brian Sudderth and John Ternus as the inventors.
Apple Receives another Granted Patent for the Original iPhone
Prior to the iPhone in 2007, smartphones weren't all that smart. One of the drawbacks to these older smartphones was their overuse of physical buttons and confusing menus. Apple's revolutionary iPhone introduced multi-touch interfaces, virtual keyboards and mini apps and icons that easily directed users to the iPhone's settings and features which included such things as telephony, music, photos and information on whether and stocks.
Apple's Abstract: A computer-implemented method, for use in conjunction with a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, comprises displaying a portion of page content, including a frame displaying a portion of frame content and also including other content of the page, on the touch screen display. An N-finger translation gesture is detected on or near the touch screen display. In response, the page content, including the displayed portion of the frame content and the other content of the page, is translated to display a new portion of page content on the touch screen display. An M-finger translation gesture is detected on or near the touch screen display, where M is a different number than N. In response, the frame content is translated to display a new portion of frame content on the touch screen display, without translating the other content of the page.
Update June 22, 2011: There have been some comment made in the community that Apple's newly granted patent isn't as extensive as first thought. That's simply inaccurate. If you read the patent carefully, Apple has incorporated a multitude of patents under this newly granted patent. Below is just one such paragraph example wherein Apple is incorportating a whopping 9 patents in their entirety into this one granted patent. Is that enough of an eyeopener for skeptics?
"A touch-sensitive display in some embodiments of the touch screen may be as described in the following applications: (1) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/381,313, "Multipoint Touch Surface Controller," filed May 2, 2006; (2) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/840,862, "Multipoint Touchscreen," filed May 6, 2004; (3) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/903,964, "Gestures For Touch Sensitive Input Devices," filed Jul. 30, 2004; (4) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/048,264, "Gestures For Touch Sensitive Input Devices," filed Jan. 31, 2005; (5) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/038,590, "Mode-Based Graphical User Interfaces For Touch Sensitive Input Devices," filed Jan. 18, 2005; (6) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/228,758, "Virtual Input Device Placement On A Touch Screen User Interface," filed Sep. 16, 2005; (7) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/228,700, "Operation Of A Computer With A Touch Screen Interface," filed Sep. 16, 2005; (8) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/228,737, "Activating Virtual Keys Of A Touch-Screen Virtual Keyboard," filed Sep. 16, 2005; and (9) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/367,749, "Multi-Functional Hand-Held Device," filed Mar. 3, 2006. All of these applications are incorporated by reference herein in their entirety."
Apple's patent is definitely far reaching but one could only speculate as to just how far reaching it really is. On the other hand, there are those that definitely dissagree, and that's fine. For now, it's nice to know that Apple has just gained a huge patent win that they'll be able to bank on in future legal cases. As someone commented in Nilay Patel's report (noted above), it's Apple's 200 + patent porfolio that matters in the end, not just a single patent. That's a good point.
To review one of Apple's historic iPhone patents, see Granted Patent 7,966,578. Apple credits Francisco Ryan Tolmasky, Richard Williamson, Chris Blumenberg, and Patrick Coffman as the inventors.
Apple Receives a Granted Patent for Front Row & Apple Remote
Before there was the "all-new AppleTV" interface that works with Netflix and Flickr, there was Front Row and Apple Remote for the Mac. Front Row debuted in 2005 and was quite the breakthrough for its time for uniquely displaying multimedia on a computer.
Instead of describing some of the features of Front Row, I thought it best to present you with a short video highlighting some of the former key features.
For greater details, see Granted Patent 7,966,577 which was originally filed in October 2005. Apple credits Imran Chaudhri, Thomas Madden, Scott Forstall, Duncan Kerr, Nick King, Stephen Lemay, Richard Fabrick II, Bas Ording, Eric Seymour and Marcel van Os as the inventors of this patent. Here's an overview of Front Row.
Other Granted Patents Published Today
Persistent State Database for Operating System Services: Filed in 2004 - A database is used to store user interface state information. The database is accessed by a key having a service ID field, a caller ID field, and a caller context ID field. The caller context ID is used to identify the context in the application program from which the user interface is called. In this manner, the system can differentiate between calls from different portions of the application program which can have different user expectations of the desirable user interface state.
Management of Podcasts: Filed in June 2006 - Apple's invention relates to podcasts and, more particularly, to acquiring, managing, and organizing podcasts.
Control of Electronic Devices based on Capability Descriptions: Filed in October 2006 - Apple's invention relates to the describing of the capabilities and functions of electronic devices such as mobile telephones and personal assistants (PDAs), and their control by, for example, applications on a user's computer.
Battery Connector Structures for Electronic Devices: Filed in Dec. 2008 – A portable computer is provided that has a housing. A removable battery may provide power to the portable computer. A connector on the battery may mate with a corresponding battery connector in the portable computer housing. The battery connector may be mounted in the portable computer housing using a floating arrangement. This allows the position of the connector to move slightly to accommodate variations in the position of the battery. A cable may be used to route power between the battery and a main logic board. A cover may be used to hold the battery connector and cable to the housing of the portable computer without excessively impeding movement of the connector.
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. Patents shouldn't be digested as rumors or fast-tracked according to rumor time tables. Apple patents represent true research that could lead to future products and should be understood in that light. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
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