On April 24, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a monumental invention relating to an interactive 3D display. At first I thought it might have been a patent from PrimeSense, but the inventors are Apple engineers. Today's discovery is one of those patents where you get goose bumps just thinking about what this could mean for the future.
On April 3, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their work on next generation multitouch technology that uses FTIR (Frustrated Total Internal Reflection) and capacitive sensing. It's much like the technology that Microsoft calls PixelSense. It's a technology that could sense different pressure levels which could be used for an on-screen gaming controller. If you want speed, just push harder on the display and the car will accelerate. It may also be used for future virtual reality applications. With Apple's recent acquisition of PrimeSense, Apple definitely has something big that they're working on for 3D gaming and/or other advanced applications.
On February 27, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Systems and Methods for Preventing Light Guide Plate Scratching Artifacts." Apple's invention details the possible use of self-healing and Teflon coatings to protect the backlight from being scratched which produces annoying artifacts on iDevice and Mac displays. Apple's gorgeous Retina Displays may soon shine even more with Apple's push to eliminate unsightly artifacts
Apple's Retina Display is a brand name used by Apple for liquid crystal displays that have a pixel density high enough that the human eye is unable to discern individual pixels at a typical viewing distance. Apple created a special video to explain the breakthrough behind the Retina Display. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of four patent applications from Apple that reveal their work on advancing the Retina Display through the use of Quantum Dots that will eventually sharpen colors to yet the next degree of outstanding quality.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 31 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we focus on a single invention that covers future devices that could incorporate several integrated technologies including smart glass or electrochromic glass, backside display cover touch controls and photovoltaic cells that could add a power boost to many devices such as a MacBook or iPad. According to a new research report published today, notebooks and Ultrabooks with built-in LTE connectivity will be a new product category that will gain a lot of traction over the next few years as LTE expands into China and other markets around the globe.
It was reported yesterday that GT Advanced, Apple's manufacturing partner for its new sapphire glass plant in Mesa, Arizona, began advertising job openings at the new plant that will produce sapphire materials that will cover iDevice cameras and Apple's Touch ID Home Button feature. In March we were first to note that Apple may shift to sapphire crystal for future iDevice display covers. Then in September 2013 we posted a report about a new fusion process for adding a sapphire laminate layer to future iDevice cover glass as well as wearables. In December 2013 Apple revealed future iDevices could use flexible sapphire displays created with a sophisticated liquid-metal process. In today's published patent application, Apple once again confirms that iDevices will use sapphire for future iPhone displays and beyond.
In February during the Goldman Sachs Conference, Tim Cook described OLED displays as awful. "If you buy things online, you should think twice before you depend on the color of the OLED display. The Retina display is twice as bright as an OLED display." Cook added that "Some people use OLED displays, but the color saturation is awful." While Apple's CEO downplayed OLED, the fact is that Apple has a great number of patents covering the improvement of OLED displays and in February they recruited a former senior researcher at LG Display to work on display technology. In today's patent application published by the US Patent and Trademark Office we learn that Apple is working to integrate thermal sensors into displays in order to control color. The advantage to OLED that Apple may not be able to ignore is that they can be flexible for future wearable computers like a computer band or iWatch.
In 2012 AppAdvice asked the question: "Will an Anti-Reflective Screen Ever Come to the iPhone and iPad?" Our September patent report covering Apple's patent application titled "UV Mask with Anti-Reflection Coating and UV Absorption Material," answered that question in respect to Apple working on a solution. The timing of this coming to market, of course, is another matter. This morning, Patently Apple was first to discover another Apple patent application on this very subject matter filed in Europe. This time around, Apple's patent pending invention discusses the manufacturing process and machinery associated with layering coatings unto the surface of device cover glass with such protective materials such as anti-scratch, color filters and most importantly, everything to do with anti-reflection materials for future products such as an iPhone, iPad or wearable computer.
Earlier this month we noted in a report that that IGZO displays used in Apple's current and future products will not only be brighter but could eventually reduce power consumption by 50% or more. Getting more life out of our mobile devices is important to all of us and it's a priority at Apple who is working to advance displays that could continue to provide a power savings.
In 2012 AppAdvice asked the question: "Will an Anti-Reflective Screen Ever Come to the iPhone and iPad?" Well, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple today titled "UV Mask with Anti-Reflection Coating and UV Absorption Material," that answers that question. Apple's patent reveals that an anti-reflection film will be added to the manufacturing process of a future iPad display. The new anti-reflective process may extend to other products in the future including the iPhone, other portables and a television.
The European Patent Office published a new patent application from Apple late last week that describes a fused glass process for device housings. We're all familiar with the iPhone 4S having both its face and back housings constructed with glass. Apple's latest European patent filing, which lists Jony Ive as one of the inventors, illustrates the double sided glass construction design possibly extending through to the iPod, iPad, and various displays (iMac, Cinema) including a television encased in glass using a fused glass process.
Every once and a while a very cool idea emerges in a patent that puts a smile on our faces just because we know that Jony Ive and his team (the Crazy Ones) have come up with yet another aesthetically minded industrial design. Today's little gem hits on a number of interesting things. Firstly, Apple has designed a display that could conceal or reveal hidden components behind a display such as a camera and strobe flash so that they could be eliminated as physical features on an iPhone, iPad or other computer. Apple states that "Placing components that would typically be found on the surface of an electronic device enclosure behind a transparent display may increase the surface real-estate of the enclosure for a larger display or additional components. Further, the aesthetics of the electronic device may be greatly enhanced by not cluttering the device enclosure with always-visible components, but instead creating a more seamless electronic device where the components are only visible when they are in use." Secondly, beyond the camera and strobe flash, there's an additional key component that Apple wants to conceal that's noteworthy, and that's a fingerprint scanner.
On May 30, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new flexible display invention. Apple has filed a number of flex display based patents over the last year including one for advanced concepts and features, another relating to the a next generation Smart Cover and yet another relating to unique functionality beyond the gimmickry of flex screen designs. Today's patent extends on the latter patent in that it ties a flex screen directly to an application such as Apple's GarageBand. In the future, playing the piano will be more realistic allowing the user to press the keys harder or softer to get the right sound that they're seeking. I'm sure that Apple is working on other applications for this new functionality but we'll just have to wait until they roll it out to see just how cool this could be.
On May 16, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an all-new touch sensor panel design for larger displays. Today's touch sensor panels are designed like a checkerboard taking on a matrix of drive and sense lines arranged in rows and columns in horizontal and vertical directions. That may be fine for smaller touch displays but as the touch displays become larger such as those for a future MacBook or even an iMac, the current design becomes a drag on the speed of touch command execution. Apple's next generation touch sensor panel is likely to take on either a web-like design or one that incorporates thick diamond-like shapes so that the user's finger is more likely to hit the sensors faster and easier.