The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 20 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our third and final granted patent report of the day we take a look at Apple's yet to be released sporting app that Apple calls a "lifestyle companion" plus we take a look at a camera lens baffle for iOS devices. The last item in this report takes a brief look at a series of patent applications that cover Apple's upcoming iCloud printing services. No, Apple doesn't describe these services as being revolutionary – but rather as being a "cloud computing paradigm." I suspect that CEO Steve Jobs will retain the former for a future press release. What else is new? - ha!
Apple has been Granted a Patent Relating to a Sports Program
Apple and Nike have never really gone much beyond the initial Nike + iPod initiative relating to runners. I have seen a new heart rate monitor system called Nike WearLink + that works with the fifth generation iPod but not others – yet. So while there's an evolutionary process in play, I'm sure that many Macites would like to see Apple with or without Nike introduce more training style applications for their iOS devices. Todays granted patent dates back to 2008 and so they've had some time to get this ready for market. Is it an idea that will turn into a product or will it die on the vine? Time will tell. For now however, we get to see Apple's latest sporting patent that is now secure.
Apple's granted patent covers methods and systems for providing a lifestyle companion system. The lifestyle companion system could provide a platform to conduct a user interview. Based on the user interview responses, the system could suggest activities, references, and/or plug-in modules. During performance of activities, the system could provide audio and/or visual cues related to the activities and collect data indicative of the user's performance. Based on the collected data, the system can dynamically adapt the user's goals and/or activities the user is performing or will perform. In some embodiments of the present invention, the lifestyle companion system of the present invention could be applied to fitness, nutrition, and/or medical modules. The system also could be used to facilitate synchronous group activities.
Apple's Initial Patent Claim: A portable electronic device comprising: a display; memory for storing information about multiple activities; a communication module for accepting sensor data indicative of a user's performance metrics; and a controller configured to provide a filmstrip of graphics and a visual representation of entertainment media simultaneously on the display, wherein the filmstrip of graphics is related to at least a current activity and a first future activity, wherein the entertainment media is associated with at least one of the current activity and the first future activity, wherein the controller is configured to generate the graphics based on the information stored in the memory and to update the filmstrip based on data informative of advancement from the current activity to the first future activity, and wherein the visual representation is an entertainment filmstrip comprising: a graphic representation of a first entertainment media file associated with the current activity; and a graphic representation of a second entertainment media file associated with the first future activity.
For more details see Granted Patent 8,001,472. Apple credits Glen Gilley, Sarah Brody, Randall Ubillos, Mihnea Pacurariu, Jesse Dorogusker and Robert Borchers as the inventors of this patent.
Apple is Granted a Patent for a Lens Baffle for iOS Devices
Apple's invention generally relates to the field of photographic lenses and, more particularly, to a lens baffle for a still or video camera in an iOS device.
Cameras, and imaging systems generally, typically use sun shields, such as shades or hoods, for shielding the lens assembly from stray light. Such sun shields protrude from the imaging system, thereby adding both volume and weight. In addition to sun shields, imaging systems may use multiple baffles or vanes outside the optical path. Baffles are typically placed perpendicular to the optical path of an imaging system in order to block the propagation of stray light.
Embodiments of Apple's invention employ a brush-like baffle between the lens assembly and a transparent cover. The baffle at least partially surrounds the lens to prevent stray light from entering and causing flare or other image artifacts. If the baffle does not entirely surround the lens structure, an adjustment mechanism may be provided to rotate the baffle so as to "tune" the flare reduction effect.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 is cross-sectional view of a camera lens assembly; Patent FIG's. 2 and 3 are front views of a lens baffle; Patent FIG. 4 depicts an iOS device in which the lens baffle could be integrated.
For more information on this invention, see granted patent 8,000,598 which was originally filed in June 2010. Apple credits Richard Tsai as the inventor.
Other Granted Patents Published Today
Granted Patent 8,000,134: Off-die charge pump that supplies multiple flash devices
Granted Patent 8,000,228: Pilot signal in an FDMA communication system
Granted Patent 8,000,694: Communications device having a commute time function and methods of use thereof
Granted Patent 8,001,359: Mapping an N-bit application ported from an M-bit application to an N-bit architecture
One More Thing: A Peek at Apple's Cloud-Computing Paradigm
Last week the US Patent and Trademark Office published many of Apple's quality patent applications. We posted extra reports last Friday and yesterday just to keep up and today we're posting one last mini-report to finish them off. But it's a very interesting application. In fact there's a series of four patents on this one subject and it relates to Apple's future iCloud services, specifically relating to printing.
Apple's patent point #35 hits it out of the park by stating that the "Cloud (104 as noted below) could include one or more servers that provide printing services using a cloud-computing paradigm."
Apple states that printers are often a problem for computer users. When a computer user initially installs a printer, the cabling and power cords are typically not a problem to hook up. However, the user typically has to install a printer-specific driver, which involves loading the driver from a disk or navigating to a website and downloading the driver. Even if the printer driver is already loaded into the computer system, the user typically has to load and install an update for the driver from the printer manufacturer's website. These installation operations are time-consuming and commonly require the user to find and enter a long software-license key.
Moreover, printers pose an even bigger problem for users of mobile computing devices, such as laptops or smart phones. In practice, the wireless computing device may not be configured with the requisite driver software. In this case, installing the appropriate printer driver could be bothersome, especially if the user of the mobile computing device only intends to use the nearby printer once or twice. Also, mobile computing devices have limited storage space, which makes it impractical for them to store a large number of printer drivers.
Hence, what is needed is a system that facilitates printing from a computing device to a nearby printer without the above-described problems.
Apple's full solution is covered in the following four patent applications: 20110194141, 20110194124, 20110194123 and 20110194140. Within a single application, Apple is rolling in 15 patents or more from a provisional patent. Note: Here's a temporary link to one of the patent applications for your convenience. Temporary links are usually only good for 24-48 hours.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details.
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