While Intel is obsessed with pushing their Ultrabooks into the market to attack Apple's MacBook Air, Apple is working on producing a thinner MacBook Pro for road warriors who need the convenience of an optical drive. Apple's latest invention describes how they propose to minimize the mechanics of an optical disk drive so as to produce a thinner MacBook Pro design in the future.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 20 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second report of the day we focus in on a key Apple Multi-Touch patent relating to an In-Plane Switching Display. Multi-Touch based In-Plane Switching or IPS first debuted on the iPad 2. Apple has also won two iPod nano related patents and one for their boring yet functional iPad dock. And lastly, in our granted patent round up of the day, we present you with an iPhone-nano like design that was on the minds of Apple's engineers back in 2006.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 20 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our first report of the day we focus on Apple being granted a couple of new solar energy related patents. As we learned at this year's IDF fall session, a notebook's display is a real energy hog. In order to extend battery life, the industry will be moving to "Panel Self Refresh" technology by 2013 in the hopes of saving mobile users about an hour's time of battery life per day. And like Intel, Apple is researching methods of harnessing solar energy to further extend the run time of all portables. Today's patent wins cover new solar cell assembly methods and how MacBooks could harness the power of the sun one day with a specialized back panel reflector. Apple is definitely on a roll this year as these patents mark their fourth and fifth solar related wins.
Personal Audio LLC of Texas who won a case against Apple on one patent front this past July is back in court with a new filing. The jury in the first trial sided with Personal Audio against Apple, but a post trial judgment ruled against their second key patent. Personal Audio is back with a vengeance to prove that their second patent was indeed infringed by Apple by pointing to iOS and Apple's own marketing regarding playlists for which they have no patents for, states the company. The lawsuit drags in the new iPhone 4S, iPod touch and the iOS 5 operating system which was just released. This is a very long and detailed report that goes into some of the history of this case and presents some fascinating details brought up in court testimony. If you're a legal buff or professional, it's definitely an interesting weekend read. Updated
It was revealed today at both the EU and Hong Kong China IP Offices that Apple has filed for the "Assistive Touch" trademark shown above in three different formats under International Classes 9, 28 and 42. The Assistive Touch feature shown here in use actually fulfills a patent feature that we reported on in November 2010. The initial concept was generic while Apple's implementation is Apple feature specific – but it's the same feature being described. In other IP News, Apple filed for iPhone 4S, Siri and the Siri logo trademarks in Canada this morning. Updated with US Filing Info
On October 13, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two patent applications from Apple that reveal that they're working on a new facial recognition/Signature system in addition to a new encryption system for a future implementation of iOS. Apple's new iPhone 4S offers new face detection capabilities but the next step appears to go one step further with tagging the photos for applications like your address book and so forth. In the case of Apple's newly proposed encryption, it's definitely a must have feature if Apple wishes to push further into the Fortune 500 and beyond.
On Oct 13, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a powerful group of seven Apple patents concerning the next round of FaceTime videoconferencing innovations. Some of these innovations include new PIP controls, new focus and exposure operations and a superimposing feature. The depths of these patents are mind numbing as they cover everything from the camera technology and software magic behind FaceTime through to actual user examples. With Microsoft likely to integrate Skype into Windows 8 in 2012 or thereafter, Apple knows that they have to advance FaceTime with important conferencing features for the consumer and the enterprise user in order to stay ahead of the pack.
On October 13, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two patent applications from Apple that reveal a very detailed overview of an advanced avatar editing app. Using and creating Avatars has been a new trend emanating from Apple's engineering labs. The year began with Apple introducing us to "the Personalized Shopping Avatar" concept and have since followed through with an avatar creation tool for tablets in July and even mentioned Avatars being used in a mobile clubbing app just last week. In the bigger picture, Apple envisions the day when Avatars and related environments will be so rich that we'll be able to shop online in an Avatar centric Apple Store environment. When you think of the power of Apple's new Siri, an online Apple Rep with Siri's brain would seem very natural indeed. But for today, it's all about advanced creation and editing tools for Avatars. In the future, Apple envisions Avatars working with a wide variety of apps including but not limited to address books, chat sessions, video conferencing, email, games or any other application that could support an animated avatar. Apple is even working on a few humorous animated Avatars as well that will quickly replace antiquated emoticons. Apple obviously see's Avatars playing an expanding role in our online experiences, even when most of us just don't see it yet.
Apple has been granted 17 iPhone 4S Design Patents in China over the course of the last several months. It appears that the Hong Kong database doesn't always file registered designs as one would expect. Some registered designs are found out of date sequentially and are easily overlooked. The designs noted in our report today, of course, are really those relating to the original iPhone 4. But why not have a little fun with it being that that Apple decided to use the very same physical design as the iPhone 4 for their current iPhone 4S. Apple's iPhone 4S designs are protected in China until 2016.
Sight Sound Technologies, whose parent company is General Electric, is suing Apple for patent infringement. After winning cases against the likes of N2K, Inc., CDNow, Inc., CDNow Online, Roxio and Napster with three specific patents, Sight Sound Technologies is now focusing their sights on Apple.
According to a Danish report filed last week, Samsung now possesses several patents that will be able to challenge Apple's new iPhone 4S. They also note that Apple's press release claims that the "iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently switch between two antennas to send and receive" may not hold water.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 15 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The two patents that easily stood out from the pack this morning include another Multi-Touch patent for Apple's legal war chest and a unique illuminable MacBook camera latch patent that reveals a twist that could definitely play out at some point in the future. We conclude our report with a real heartbreaking moment caught on film at this year's WWDC with Steve Jobs.
Yesterday we mourned with the rest of the world as we learned of Steve Jobs passing on Wednesday evening. Today we move forward with a heavy heart - but remain focused on what we do best: Report on the insanely great inventions inspired by Steve Jobs and his team. During Apple's special event held earlier this week in Cupertino, Tim Cook spent a lot of time talking about how Apple still loved music and the iPod that started the mobile revolution. In a patent published by the USPTO on Thursday, we learned that Apple is working on a fresh new music sharing app that is uniquely designed for those who love the mobile clubbing scene. The app is described as tying in with the iOS notification system as well as with Twitter and Facebook social networking sites. And finally, our report covers the newly released iOS 5 split keyboard patent and more.
Steve Jobs, one of the most inspirational leaders of my generation has died at the age of 56. The one that always reached for the Next Great Thing and inspired us all to Think Different will never be forgotten. Patently Apple will not be reporting as usual tomorrow out of respect for Steve. Our comment system will remain open without moderation for the first time in our history in order to allow anyone in or outside of the community to pay their respect until Friday morning. And one more thing: I've added Apple's Think Different Campaign video as narrated by the Great One himself. It's the first time that I've ever heard this version of it before and it'll always be the way I remember Steve: As one of the Crazy Ones who thought they could change the world, and did. Updated