Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of thirteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. In today's patent report we focus on Apple's original hybrid antenna, their reinvention of photo management for smartphones and their first patent win for location tracking. In May 2010, location tracking became the focus of a senate hearing where both Apple and Google executives faced a grilling from Senator Minnesota Democratic Rep. Al Franken. Apple's Bud Tribble confirmed that Apple doesn't share personally identifiable information with third parties. Even though that was reassuring, the issue isn't going away any time soon. Just last week the Supreme Court basically stated that law enforcement must obtain a search warrant if they're to use GPS and location tracking technologies on suspects. Something tells me that this won't be the last time that the issue of location tracking abuse is brought into question. For now, we simply appreciate the tamer side of Apple's location tracking used for route planning and all things touristy.
Apple Granted Patent for iPhone Location Tracking
Apple has received their first Granted Patent relating to the iPhone's location tracking technology. In order to actually understand what Apple's winning patent is for, we present you with the patent's background and summary as follows:
Background: Location-based services have been developed for determining and tracking the locations of the users of mobile devices. Location-based services provide location-specific information to mobile devices, including, for example, global positioning system (GPS) data to locate the mobile device on a map of a geographic region.
A number of applications are available for aiding users in navigation and route planning. Some of these applications use mobile devices containing global positioning systems to define the location of the mobile device and plan a route to a desired destination. Currently, however, these route planning systems do not provide a way to document items of interest to a user while a route is traveled. In conventional systems, the information the route planning systems provide is limited to what is pre-programmed. This information can become obsolete in time and may be of little or no interest to the user.
Summary: Location information is used to build a database of locations having associated audio, video, image and/or text data.
In some implementations, a method includes: presenting a map of a geographic region on a touch-sensitive display; receiving touch input selecting a geographic location; determining geographic positioning information of the geographic location; receiving data in response to an input received by a touch-sensitive display; associating the data with the geographic positioning information of the geographic location to produce geographically tagged data; and storing the geographically-tagged data.
In some implementations a method includes: presenting indications of a predetermined group of geographic locations on a touch-sensitive display; receiving a selection of a geographic location from the group of geographic locations displayed on the touch-sensitive display; and presenting geographically tagged data associated with the geographic location in a user interface on the touch-sensitive display.
In some implementations, a user interface includes a touch-sensitive display area for displaying indications of a predetermined group of geographic locations associated by an attribute, wherein each indication represents geographically coded data associated with a geographic position, and wherein a name of the attribute is displayed in the user interface.
Other implementations are disclosed in Apple's patent, including implementations directed to systems, methods, apparatuses, computer-readable mediums and user interfaces.
Apple's First Patent Claim: A method comprising: presenting a map of a geographic region on a mobile device display; determining a geographic location of the mobile device; receiving data in response to an input selecting the data; associating the data with the geographic location to produce first geographically tagged data; and storing the first geographically tagged data on the mobile device.
To review Apple's other 41 patent claims, see granted patent 8,108,144. Apple credits Senior VP of iPhone Software Scott Forstall and team engineers Gregory Christie, Robert Borchers, and Imran as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q2 2008.
Apple Wins a Patent for the iPhone's Hybrid Antenna
Apple has received a Granted Patent for the iPhone's hybrid antenna. The date of the patent filing tells us that Apple began work on the iPhone 4's hybrid antenna over two years prior to its debut. This is likely the first of two patents for their hybrid antenna, as this patent doesn't cover the aluminum band design.
The patent does state that the hybrid antenna would support "cellular telephone bands at 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 1900 MHz." This, according to Wikipedia, presents a combination of bands that is considered a "world phone." Apple's granted patent likely laid out the ground work for the upcoming advanced world phone: the iPhone 5. Apple's patent also covers the antenna working with bands supporting GPS and Wi-Fi.
Apple's patent FIG. 7 shown below is a perspective view of a partially assembled portable electronic device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention showing how an upper portion of the device may be inserted into a lower portion of the device.
In respect to Apple's patent FIG. 12 shown above, Apple's patent states that a hybrid antenna (182) is formed by combining a slot antenna structure (152) with an inverted-F antenna structure (164).
According to the Apple's patent, the inverted-F antenna structure may be formed from any suitable conductive material such as metal (metal alloy). An illustrative shape that may be used for inverted-F antenna structure is shown in the perspective view of FIG. 18, shown below. Apple's patent FIG. 20 shows connection 258 in more detail from an inverted perspective.
Apple's First Patent Claim: An antenna in a portable electronic device having first and second housing portions, comprising: conductive structures in the first housing portion that define an antenna slot having a perimeter with at least one gap; and a conductive bridging structure mounted to the second housing portion that bridges the gap and completes at least a portion of the perimeter of the antenna slot when the first and second housing portions are connected to form the portable electronic device.
In 2011, Apple introduced the iPhone 4S with a revised hybrid antenna. According to The Loop's Jim Dalrymple, the hybrid antenna is unique to Apple. Dalrymple stated in October that "this is an Apple-only technology. While other companies can receive on dual antennas, no other company can transmit and receive on dual GSM or CDMA antennas."
To review Apple's other 27 patent claims, see granted patent 8,106,836. Apple credits Robert Hill, Scott Myers, Robert Schlub, Dean Darnell and Zhijun Zhang as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q2 2008.
Apple Wins a Patent for Photo Management on an iPhone
Apple has received a Granted Patent that relates primarily to the iPhone's Photo Management. When the late Steve Jobs took to the stage in 2007 to launch the iPhone, he made a series of points that are echoed in today's granted patent as follows:
Some portable devices (e.g., mobile telephones, sometimes called mobile phones, cell phones, cellular telephones, and the like) have resorted to adding more push buttons, increasing the density of push buttons, overloading the functions of push buttons, or using complex menu systems to allow a user to access, store, and manipulate data. These approaches often result in complicated key sequences and menu hierarchies that must be memorized by the user.
Many conventional user interfaces, such as those that include physical push buttons, are also inflexible because a physical push button may prevent a user interface from being configured and/or adapted by either an application running on the portable electronic device or by users. When coupled with the time consuming requirement to memorize multiple key sequences and menu hierarchies, and the difficulty in activating a desired push button, such inflexibility is frustrating to most users.
For example, cell phones with a built-in digital camera have been on the market for some time. But existing cell phones are difficult to use for even basic photo-related operations such as displaying, deleting and sending a photo because of limitations with the cell phones' user interface.
Accordingly, there is a need for portable multifunction devices with more transparent and intuitive user interfaces for photo management.
Today's patent goes into great detail of how Apple's iPhone completely reinvented photo management on a smartphone. Despite Apple's critics with their never ending rumblings about Apple's inventions, Photo Management in 2007 prior to the iPhone was absolutely atrocious. Cheers to the Crazy Ones.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 shown above illustrates an exemplary user interface for a camera; patent FIG. 8 illustrates an exemplary user interface for viewing photo albums; patent FIG. 10 illustrates an exemplary user interface for viewing an album; patent FIG. 12 illustrates an exemplary user interface for selecting a use for an image in an album; and patent FIG. 21 shown below is a flowchart illustrating an animated process for rendering an email service interface that includes a user selected image.
At the time of this filing, the focus of the patent was for the iPhone. In the bigger picture, the patent now applies to the iPad and future iDevices that could access the internet. Apple lists tablet computers, notebooks and desktops with a touch surface. Apple patent specifically states "In some embodiments, a device with a touch screen display (e.g., device 100 [the iPhone], a tablet computer, or a desktop computer with a touch screen display)." That's interesting to note the specificity of a touch screen desktop, being that they later supported that notion with a full patent filing of its own that could be reviewed here.
Apple's First Patent Claim: A computer-implemented method, comprising: at a device with a touch screen display, detecting a first movement of a physical object on or near the touch screen display; while detecting the first movement, translating a first digital object displayed on the touch screen display in a first direction, wherein the first digital object is associated with a set of digital objects; in response to display of a previously hidden edge of the first digital object and continued detection of the first movement, displaying an area beyond the edge of the first digital object; after the first movement is no longer detected, translating the first digital object in a second direction until the area beyond the edge of the first digital object is no longer displayed; detecting a second movement of the physical object on or near the touch screen display; and in response to detecting the second movement while the previously hidden edge of the first digital object is displayed, translating the first digital object in the first direction and displaying a second digital object in the set of digital objects.
To review Apple's other 26 patent claims, see granted patent 8,106,856. Apple credits Senior VP of iPhone Software Scott Forstall and team members Michael Matas, Greg Christie, Paul Marcos, Marcel Van OS and Imran Chaudhri as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q3 2007 or about a month after the original iPhone debuted.
Apple Granted Two Design Patents
Apple credits VP Industrial Design Jonathan Ive and team members Bartley Andre, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Richard Howarth, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas Satzger, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer as the inventors of the Power Module (USB Power Adapter) patent, originally filed in Q3 2010.
Final Patent Round-Up
Over and above the granted patents that were specifically reported on today, we present you with links to all of the other granted patents in our Final Patent Round-Up as follows:
8,108,685 Apparatus and method for indicating password quality and variety
8,108,650 Translation lookaside buffer (TLB) with reserved areas for specific sources
8,108,633 Shared stream memory on multiple processors
8,108,342 Methods and systems of content mobilization, mobile search, and video editing through a web interface
8,108,261 Store affiliation system
8,107,183 Method and device for hard drive shock event detection
8,106,926 Controlling a display device to display portions of an entire image in a display area (iPod related).
8,106,630 Method and system for operating a portable electronic device in a power-limited manner (iOS Devices).
8,104,911 Display system with distributed LED backlight
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. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
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