Today's the day we've been waiting for. Apple will be unveiling their next generation iPhone with their brightly redesigned iOS 7. The updated iPhone is likely to be offered to consumers in two additional color choices including champagne gold and graphite grey. The second product being unveiled today is Apple's new mid-range iPhone class that will serve Apple well in emerging markets. The latter will be offered in a wide range of colors that will hopefully be as crisp and sharp as those found on the current iPod touch. On the "possibilities" list, we're likely to learn about one or two new iPhone distributors, mainly Mobile China and DoCoMo in Japan, with the latter still in the maybe column. And lastly, Apple may surprise us with a new fingerprint scanner with NFC (or AirDrop using iBeacon) either integrated into the iPhone's Home button or one of two other locations. The timing of Apple's new fingerprint scanner has been hotly debated for months with both pro and con reports surfacing. If this feature does in fact debut today, then we may see Apple unveil their long awaited micropayment application known as the iWallet (or whatever they'll finally call it). It was revealed earlier this summer that ISIS, an e-wallet service project developed by AT&T, Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless would be launching a finalized version of their financial system in time for the holiday season this fall. They specifically mentioned working with the iPhone. So if all goes right, that could be the buzz of the day. Yet until the iPhone event kicks-off, it's still granted patent day for us at Patently Apple and today's report covers another major multitouch patent granted to Apple along with five design patents and much more. In total, Apple was granted 35 patents today.
Apple Granted Patent for Multi-touch input discrimination
There's only one granted patent worth noting today. Apple has been granted another major multi-touch related patent today regarding input discrimination. Specifically, Apple's granted patent covers techniques for identifying and discriminating between different types of contacts to a multi-touch touch-screen device such as contacts with fingertips, thumbs, palms and cheeks. By way of example, thumb contacts may be distinguished from fingertip contacts using a patch eccentricity parameter. In addition, by non-linearly deemphasizing pixels in a touch-surface image, a reliable means of distinguishing between large objects (e.g., palms) from smaller objects (e.g., fingertips, thumbs and a stylus) is described.
Apple was granted a related patent back in 2007 as the iPhone was coming to market. The 2007 patent was covered by 75 patent claims. Apple's latest patent regarding multi-touch input discrimination covers 40 patent claims. The current patent discusses "deemphasizing pixels in a touch-surface image," which isn't presented in the earlier patent. Other upgrades may be found in Apple's latest granted patent. To find them, check out Apple's granted patent 7,855,718 which was invented by Wayne Westerman.
A few other granted patents issued to Apple today include one for a folded flex assembly for personal media device and another for determining headings using magnetometer data and angular rate data. Apple's magnetometer patent relates to another patent application on the same technology filed in 2010.
Apple Granted Five Design Patents Today
Apple was granted five design patents today covering the iPhone 4(S), iPad Smart Case, an unfamiliar GUI element, the fourth generation iPad and iPod touch case. The iPhone 4 design lists Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs as one of the inventors.
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
One More Thing
I'd like to throw in one more point about the fingerprint scanner that might be introduced today. During WWDC 2013, Craig Federighi delivered a Knockout Punch when he introduced AirDrop, Apple's alternative to NFC. He mocked Samsung's implementation of sharing files by having to physically tap two or devices together using NFC.
Apple's AirDrop will make file sharing effortless between friends and/or colleagues within a given vicinity. Apple's prior patents played up NFC for some time and then Apple threw in an alternative, which the patent called for but never named.
The point is that we should keep in mind that while Apple's fingerprint scanner patent mentions NFC – Apple may have once again decided to switch that out in favor of the very same technology that's behind AirDrop. So if Apple does indeed introduce a fingerprint scanner with the iPhone 5S, it'll be interesting to see if they've chosen to go with NFC or the alternative.
Cheers, and enjoy today's iPhone Event.
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.
Some Related Reports Leading up to Today