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 invented a video headset back in 2006 and was granted a patent for it in September 2009. Since that time Apple has added a few inventions to keep their project evolving over time (one, two), with the most recent mention of a headset being noted in a patent application relating to hidden audio sensors. Over the weekend we covered a patent that Apple acquired from PrimeSense regarding an advanced headset to add to Apple's patent portfolio on head mounted displays. Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a knockout granted patent for a detailed head mounted head display that resembles the Oculus Rift which is the buzz of the gaming world at the moment. Apple's patent makes it clear that gaming is one of the main entertainment options for this device. It's also designed to be a personal display system so that you could enjoy full HD widescreen experiences on the go with your iPhone or at Home with your Apple TV. Without a doubt, it's the surprise granted patent of the year.
In July we reported that Apple was in the race to acquire PrimeSense and last month the news was official. Little did we know at the time that Apple's Tel Aviv research center was already working on sensing technologies specializing in three-dimensional analysis of body and facial movements, and so the acquisition of PrimeSense was a perfect fit to advance future projects. A quick look at PrimeSense's website will show you that Apple has acquired a company that possesses a lot of real-world technology that could advance many Apple products in the future. Today's report takes a peek at a few of the patents that Apple has inherited.
Back in late March Apple acquired indoor-GPS Company called WifiSLAM signaling that Apple could be entering the indoor mobile location services business sometime in the future. WifiSLAM's software allows a user's smartphone to pinpoint its location (and the location of friends) in real-time to 2.5m accuracy using only ambient WiFi signals that are already present in buildings. Today, a key patent application from Apple titled "3D Position Tracking for Panoramic Imagery Navigation" was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. On one hand, the patent is about bringing detailed street-views to Apple's Map application. On the other hand, we get a smidgen of understanding as to why Apple acquired WifiSLAM. Apple's patent filing is very stingy in providing us with details about the second half of their invention. Apple states that "In some implementations, forward and backward translation enables the user to enter an indoor panorama of a structure (e.g., a commercial venue), " like a store for making a purchase. Although Apple has recently taken a bruising over their Map application's turn-by-turn navigation inaccuracies, it's crystal clear that they're charging ahead with determination to bring newly advanced services to Maps in the future.
Earlier this week, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a very special granted patent of Apple's relating to a Head Mounted Display system. The Los Angeles Time mistakenly reported that "Apple may be taking a page out of Google's book." No, no, no. Apple's patent predates the iPhone while Google's patent is shown to have been filed be in 2011. So if anything, it's Google taking a page out of Apple's book, again. Admittedly, Google's vision for video glasses does in fact appear to be far more aggressive than Apple's humble aspirations, but it may be more realistic. Apple's main focus is connecting the headset to an iDevice in order to watch movies. Its secondary focus is shown to be working with telephony and the internet. Yet considering that the patent was actually filed prior to the iPhone debuting, the idea was way ahead of its time. Apple's patent presents us with a grand overview of the optical options that they're considering for this device and hints that it'll be mainly aimed at consumer entertainment and gaming.