The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 51 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we focus on a possible revolutionary next generation computer that Apple describes as an entirely new category of computer based on projection. Apple's patent application first surfaced in 2010 and Patently Apple was first to cover it. Apple has illustrated an interest in projection systems over the years with most of them being a bit of a mystery. One describes a wild projection system that utilizes a 3D interactive space. Another describes an advanced 3D holographic projection display. We recently learned that Apple's Tel Aviv research center is reportedly working on sensing technologies specializing in three - dimensional analysis of body and facial movements and conversion of computer activity when they acquired PrimeSense last month. Whether Apple's "future" computer system will incorporate a number of their patent pending ideas into one device is unknown at this time. The envisioned computer system may also be able to advance Apple TV, which opens up a whole dimension of new possibilities.
Apple Granted a Patent for an Entirely New Category of Computer
Apple has been granted a patent today for a revolutionary next generation type of computer that Apple describes as an "entirely new category of computer systems as compared to desktops and laptops."
Various embodiments of Apple's invention contemplate using an integrated projector output as a primary visual output, as opposed to the conventional display screens involved with desktop and laptop computers. Such an approach may allow the computer system to be a "desk-free computer," by allowing the computer system to be placed wherever desired, on a desk or table, but also on a shelf, on a floor, or even suspended from a wall or ceiling.
The integrated projector output may provide flexibility in locating the computer system, by allowing any suitable surface to perform as a display screen. The integrated projector may also provide flexibility in the location, relative to the computer system and/or the user, and/or in the size of the projected image. Display screens for both laptops and desktops are fixed in size, and have limited flexibility in location relative to the computer, either by wired connection and/or other physical constraint.
Apple states that by providing wireless interfaces for input devices, such as keyboard and mouse, networking, and the like, the integrated projector output may eliminate any need for wires connecting the computer system to peripherals. Thus, in some embodiments, only a power cord may be provided to the computer system.
Advanced Optical Engine
In respect to the projector, Apple states that they may a light emitting diode (LED) or laser diode based light source. Further, the integrated projector may include an advanced optical engine capable of extreme angle projection. For example, the laser system will allow the computer system to be placed relatively close to a surface for projection, say 15 inches, while still achieving a relative large image (e.g., > 40 inches).
Overview of System & Alternative Design
Lastly, Apple notes in patent FIG. 4 that "The microphone 116 or other device may be configured to receive audio, such as voices, from the surroundings to enable communications via the computer system 100 and a network. Althought Apple points to copending application Ser. No. 12/206,546 for the full details of the communications aspect of this feature, you could be almost be assured that in an advanced system such as this that Apple will be integrating voice commands linked to features that Siri will be to initiate - especially if it's related to TV or movies.
Apple credits Aleksandar Pance, Reese Cutler, Aaron Leiba, David Falkenburg, Jason Chen, Alex Crumlin and Ken McAlpine as the inventors of this granted patent which was originally filed in Q and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. To review today's granted patent claims and details, see Apple's patent.
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 Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments.
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