Prior to Apple's great event that's scheduled for later this morning – the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 47 newly granted patents for Apple today. In this particular report we specifically cover Apple's invention relating to a personal head mounted display system. The system could be used for watching movies to give users the experience that they were actually in a theater. The system could also be used for multiplayer video games that would put users right into the action like never before. Apple's invention was well ahead of the Oculus Rift and Samsung's latest Gear VR product on paper. Whether Apple has any intention of delivering such a device in the future that could work independently or with a future version of Apple TV is unknown at this time.
Apple Granted a Patent for a Personal Head Mounted Display Device
Apple has been granted a patent today for their invention relating to a personal display system and more particularly to adjusting media displayed in a personal display system. Using personal display systems, users are not restrained by static displays, such as televisions or desktop computers, and may instead carry their media and view it anywhere. Because of their relative small size, which enhances portability, some personal display systems display media in the configuration in which it is provided by the media source, without any adjustments or modifications.
Apple's personal display device may be implemented in or as any type of display system such as, for example, a head mounted display, a television, a projection screen, an on-screen display of an electronic device, personal viewers and viewfinders found on camcorders and digital cameras, or any other suitable display system.
In some embodiments, the personal display device may simulate the experience of watching a movie in a movie theater. In some embodiments, several personal display devices may simulate the experience of playing in a multi-player video game. For example, users may be different passengers in a racecar or drivers of different cars.
Each user's personal display device may adjust the displayed media based on where the user is located in the game (e.g., the user sitting in the back seat behind the driver will see the back of the driver's head, or the user may see a different view of the outside world and of the other users' cars based on where the user's car is located on the road).
In some embodiments, the personal display device may simulate the experience of playing in a first-person shooting game, in which the personal display device may display the game environment from the perspective of the user.
Apple was granted their first head mounted display patent in 2009 for a patent application filed in 2007. Apple's current granted patent was covered by Patently Apple back in May of this year which covered their 2013 patent application filing. You'll be able to find more graphics and detailing in that report. And lastly, a more refined personal display system patent filing surfaced back in April that's worrth a look.
Although Apple was well ahead of the Oculus Rift as far as patent filings go, it was the Oculus Rift that came to light as a working model first and grabbed the spotlight and people's imagination for this kind of display system. More recently Samsung introduced their Gear VR headset just last week as noted in the promotional infographic below.
Will Apple be stepping up to the plate to deliver a new 3D VR head mounted display system to compete with the Oculus Rift or Samsung's Gear VR anytime soon? Only time will tell.
Apple credits John Tang and Anthony Fadell (who is now with Google after his company Nest Labs was acquired in January 2014 for 3.2 Billion) as the inventors of granted patent 8,832,557 which was originally filed in Q1 2008 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
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