The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 20 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. There were three notable inventions presented today. The first relates to Apple's "Integrated Touch Screen." The invention allows the touch display to be manufactured with fewer parts and/or processing steps as well as ensuring that the display itself may be thinner, brighter and require less power. The second invention relates to a method and GUI related to Apple's iOS "Voicemail Manager." And the last noteworthy invention of the day relates to a Mac Pro-like tower's modular layout mechanisms. This could be a part of a future tower computer – should Apple continue to sell such beasts. At the end of the day it should be noted that the two specific patents relating to the iPhone are just more "Bogus Patents" to get under the skin of Google's Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond's skin: Ahhh.
Granted Patent: Integrated Touch Screen
Apple's first granted patent generally relates to displays including display pixel stackups, and more particularly to touch sensing circuitry integrated into the display pixel stackup of a display. In this way, for example, a display with integrated touch sensing capability may be manufactured using fewer parts and/or processing steps, and the display itself may be thinner, brighter, and require less power.
About the Patent Figures: Patent FIGS. 1A-1C illustrate an example mobile telephone, digital media player and personal computer that each include an example integrated touch screen; FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an example computing system that illustrates one implementation of an example integrated touch screen; FIGS. 13A illustrates an example configuration of multi-function display pixels grouped into regions that function as touch sensing circuitry during a touch phase of a touch screen.
Apple's Summary: The patent relates to touch sensing circuitry integrated into the display pixel stackup (i.e., the stacked material layers forming the display pixels) of a display, such as an LCD display. Circuit elements in the display pixel stackups could be grouped together to form touch sensing circuitry that senses a touch on or near the display. Touch sensing circuitry could include, for example, touch signal lines, such as drive lines and sense lines, grounding regions, and other circuitry.
An integrated touch screen could include multi-function circuit elements that could form part of the display circuitry designed to operate as circuitry of the display system to generate an image on the display, and could also form part of the touch sensing circuitry of a touch sensing system that senses one or more touches on or near the display.
The multi-function circuit elements could be, for example, capacitors in display pixels of an LCD that could be configured to operate as storage capacitors/electrodes, common electrodes, conductive wires/pathways, etc., of the display circuitry in the display system, and that may also be configured to operate as circuit elements of the touch sensing circuitry. In this way, for example, in some embodiments a display with integrated touch sensing capability may be manufactured using fewer parts and/or processing steps, and the display itself may be thinner, brighter, and require less power.
To really appreciate the depth of technology involved in this patent one has to review the details contained in granted patent 7,995,041 which was filed for in Q3 2009. Apple credits Shih Chang as the sole inventor of this patent.
Granted Patent: Voicemail Manager for Portable Multifunction Device
Prior to the arrival of the iPhone in 2007, cell phones, even those considered to be "smartphones," presented users with a barrage of physical pushbuttons and extremely confusing methods of accessing functions such as voicemail. Users were frustratingly forced to memorize multiple key sequences and menu hierarchies to access voicemail and navigate through a series of arcane interfaces to simply delete and/or manage voicemail. It was cumbersome and inefficient. Apple's newly granted patent solved those problems by introducing an easy to use multi-touch based GUI for the iPhone that allowed users to access voicemail functionality without a headache.
Patent Claim 1 Method: A method, comprising: at a portable electronic device with a touch screen display: displaying a list of voicemail messages; detecting selection by a user of a respective voicemail message in the list; responding to the user selection of the respective voicemail message by initiating playback of the user-selected voicemail message; detecting a finger contact with a progress bar on the touch screen display, the progress bar configured to slide in a first direction on the touch screen display; detecting continuous movement of the finger contact on the touch screen display from the progress bar to a location other than the progress bar, wherein the continuous movement of the finger contact on the touch screen display has a component parallel to the first direction and a component perpendicular to the first direction; in response to the detected continuous movement, sliding the progress bar in accordance with the component of the movement of the finger contact that is parallel to the first direction; and restarting playback of the user-selected voicemail message at a position within the user-selected voicemail message corresponding to the position of the slid progress bar.
Patent Claim 7 User Interface: A graphical user interface displayed on a portable electronic device with a touch screen display, comprising: a list of voicemail messages; and a progress bar; wherein: in response to detecting selection by a user of a respective voicemail message in the list, playback of the user-selected voicemail message is initiated; a finger contact is detected with a progress bar on the touch screen display, the progress bar configured to slide in a first direction on the touch screen display, and continuous movement of the finger contact is detected on the touch screen display from the progress bar to a location other than the progress bar, wherein the continuous movement of the finger contact on the touch screen display has a component parallel to the first direction and a component perpendicular to the first direction, in response to the detected continuous movement, the progress bar is slid in accordance with the component of the movement of the finger contact that is parallel to the first direction, and playback of the user-selected voicemail message is restarted at a position within the user-selected voicemail message corresponding to the position of the slid progress bar.
To review the details of this patent which was originally filed in Q2 2007 as the iPhone was officially rolling out, see Granted Patent 7,996,792. Apple credits CEO Steve Jobs, Senior VP of iPhone Software Scott Forstall and team members Freddy Anzures, Greg Christie, Gregory Novick, Imran Chaudhri, Stephen Lemay, Patrick Coffman and Elizabeth Furches as the inventors of this patent.
Granted Patent: Component Retention Mechanism for a Tower Computer
Apple's granted patent covers their invention that generally relates to personal computing device such as a tower computer, and more particularly to the facilitation of increased modularity with respect to various components.
Apple's Patent Abstract: A component retention mechanism facilitates improved installation, retention and removal of hardware components (e.g., PCI cards) on a personal computer. The retention mechanism includes a locking component, support member, and release mechanism coupled to each other. The locking component can be a steel bar or other stiff item positioned proximate to multiple socket connectors on a circuit board. The locking component moves between unlocked and locked positions that mechanically and simultaneously unlock or lock in place multiple add-in cards inserted into the socket connectors. The support member moves and thereby facilitates movement of the locking component between locked and unlocked positions. The release mechanism facilitates movement of the support member and is actuated when a force is exerted by a user thereto. An associated slider housing coupled to the release mechanism and support member includes a fan, support shelves and a door that provides additional support to oversized PCI cards.
For more details, see granted patent 7,995,350 which was originally filed in Q4 2008. Apple credits Vinh Diep, Giles Lowe, Peter Russell-Clark, Phillip Satterfield, Clark Waterfall and Alex Yeung as the inventors of this patent.
Apple's Other Granted Patents Published Today
Granted Patent 7,996,666: User Influenced Loading Sequence of Startup Applications. Apple's invention relates to pre-loading information upon startup of an electronic device such as Apple's iPod touch or iPhone.
Granted Patent 7,996,578: Methods and Systems to Dynamically Manage Performance States in a Data Processing System. Apple's patent relates to data processing systems which operate in different modes, including a mode which supports providing an output of images through a port on the systems. In one embodiment, a data processing system includes a processing system, a cellular telephone transceiver, and a port which is configured to provide, as an output from the handheld data processing system, data representing movie video images. Methods, machine readable media and a media dock are also described.
Granted Patent 7,994,730: Pulse width modulation (PWM) closed loop LED current driver in an embedded system
Granted Patent 7,994,820: Level shifter with embedded logic and low minimum voltage
Granted Patent 7,995,606: Fly-by and ack-accelerated arbitration for broadcast packets
Granted Patent 7,996,662: Floating Point Status/Control Register Encodings for Speculative Register Field
Granted Patent 7,996,694; Dark Wake
Granted Patent 7,996,789: Methods and Apparatuses to Control Application Programs – covers the Dock in OS X.
Granted Patent 7,996,646: Efficient encoding for detecting load dependency on store with misalignment
Granted Patent 7,996,427: Unified system for accessing metadata in disparate formats
Granted Patent 7,996,624: Prefetch unit
Granted Patent 7,996,599: Command resequencing in memory operations
Granted Patent 7,996,380: Method and apparatus for processing metadata
Granted Patent 7,995,410: Leakage and NBTI reduction technique for memory
Granted Patent 7,996,458: Assigning tasks in a distributed system
Granted Patent 7,996,351: Automated estimation of a country where a client computer is configured to operate
Granted Patent 7,995,334: Printed circuit board
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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Interesting Apple Store News Today: In August 2010 Apple filed for a trademark covering their exquisite New York Apple Store-Front constructed with Glass. Today, MacRumors points to how the newly redesigned glass structure should appear when it's finished. Take a look at the graphic in that report that points to the larger panes of glass that they're using. It should be a much cleaner design when finished.
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