On February 28, 2012, The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-four newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second report of the day we primarily focus on two patents. One involves yet another win for Apple's future Telephonic MacBook and the other for a dynamic input graphic display. The latter patent is really interesting as Apple envisions how a device interface could one day morph depending on its orientation. Some of the ideas may have been implemented in iOS devices already, but others could still be on the drawing board for a future device.
Apple Wins a Patent for a Dynamic Input Graphic Display
Apple has received a Granted Patent relating to input devices, and more particularly to providing dynamic displays associated with input devices. Apple's invention is about improving user interfaces of electronic devices. An input device is disclosed that can modify the appearance and/or location of graphics associated with an input area of a device.
The input device, for example, can enable a device to provide "virtual" buttons--graphical representations of buttons as viewed by a user and the button functionality associated therewith--that can be dynamically moved and mapped to different mechanical button areas provided in fixed locations within the device.
The appearance and/or location of an input area's graphics can be modified based on various factors, such as device orientation, application context, etc. In one example, an input device can have a button layout that shifts based on the orientation of the electronic device relative to the user, such that the button layout is consistently presented to the user in an upright orientation.
In another example, the input device can rotate and/or rename a button input area region depending on the context of an application running on the electronic device. In a further example, the input device can display dynamic graphic content in an input area which is distinct from a display screen of the electronic device. Such content can include, for example, a volume indicator and/or textual content on a wheel-based input device, and can be displayed when the display screen of the electronic device is off.
Apple's patent FIGS. 3A/B, 4C/D and 6A/B that are noted below illustrate examples of button layouts in different device orientations. Note how the input area will dynamically shift when the orientation of the device changes. It's more visually understood in figures 6A/B with numbers.
Don't be deceived by this being an older patent when it comes to its viability as a future feature in one of several products. Of course you could be fooled by the illustrations being limited to various iPod designs when in fact the patent states that this idea could be applied to a "PDA, phone, remote control, camera and the like." So we may still see this feature surface in the future.
Apple's granted patent presents a total of twenty claims. Apple credits Douglas Weber, Stephen Zadesky, Stanley Ng and Andrew Hodge as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in 2008 and published by the USPTO today.
Apple Wins another Telephonic MacBook Patent
Apple has received a Granted Patent that relates to antennas and particularly antennas for a future MacBook Pro which will go beyond WiFi and extend to "handle communications for long-range links such as cellular telephone voice and data links." The antenna may use a cavity-backed configuration in which conductive cavity walls are placed in the vicinity of an antenna feed structure.
The noted MacBook computer 10 may include one or more antennas. For example, the computer may include one or more cavity antennas that are located at the corners of housing such as corner 36 and/or corner 34 (as examples). The computer may also include one or more additional antennas. The antennas in the computer may be coupled to wireless communications circuitry (e.g., radio-frequency transceiver circuits) in input-output circuitry 32B using coaxial cables, microstrip transmission lines, or other suitable transmission lines.
According to Apple, the antennas in the computer may be implemented using any suitable antenna configuration. For example, an antenna for the computer may be implemented as a cavity antenna, a monopole antenna, a dipole antenna, a patch antenna, an inverted-F antenna, an L-shaped antenna, a planar inverted-F antenna (PIFA), a slot antenna, a helical antenna, a hybrid antenna including two or more of these antenna structures, or any other suitable antenna structures. For more on Apple's coming Telephonic MacBook, see our archives. Keep in mind that a Telephonic MacBook is likely to be used for data as much as voice.
Apple credits Bing Chiang as the sole inventor of this patent which was originally filed in Q1 2009. The granted patent and carries a total of 18 patent claims.
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:
8,126,138 - Integrated speaker assembly for personal media device (iPhone)
8,127,246 - Varying user interface element based on movement
8,125,211 - Apparatus and method for testing driver writeability strength on an integrated circuit
8,125,250 - Frequency detection mechanism for a clock generation circuit
8,125,497 - Adjustment of color values for optimized image processing
8,125,977 - Synchronization of computer system clock using a local gateway
8,126,170 - Electromagnetic interference shields with piezos
8,125,344 - Portable computer battery indicator
Updated Patent List Below:
8,126,312 - Use of multiple related timelines
8,127,202 - Use of alternative value in cell detection
8,127,045 - Dynamically configurable connection on demand
8,126,845 - Synchronization methods and systems
8,126,863 - Search control combining classification and text-based searching techniques
8,126,925 - Dynamic generation and automated distribution of user interface from database model
8,126,966 - Separating attachments received from a mobile device
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.