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.
Yesterday we posted an in-depth patent report titled "Advanced iDevice Flex Display Features" which covered a grand overview of flexible display constructions and features that Apple may implement in future iDevices. Today's patent report covers a second distinct invention regarding flexible displays that may be a little more realistic in the medium term. In this invention, Apple is focused on introducing flexible edge displays that will be able to use active virtual repurposing controls depending on the needs of individual users. Apple also illustrates simple Gaming controls that could be activated on these new displays when needed. Apple indicates that these next generation flex displays could be used in future iDevices, wearable computers (like an iWatch) and even MacBooks. We close out our report with a list of 10 other minor patent applications that were published by the US Patent and Trademark Office today.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 39 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second and final granted patent report of the day we cover patents relating to the iPad's Smart Cover and a capacitive sensor panel that is dynamically reconfigurable to accommodate a feature such as pinch and zoom. We conclude our report listing the remaining 32 patents that were granted to Apple today.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 39 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Our first granted patent report focuses on the iPhone 5's integrated touch technology being granted a patent as well as their 2011 Cinema Display. Apple's new integrated touch technology allowed the iPhone 5 to be much lighter and brighter than previous versions as well as requiring less power.
During Apple's iPhone-5 event in September 2012, Phil Schiller introduced Apple's new, highly advanced "Integrated Touch" display that was one of the upgrades that made the iPhone 5 so much lighter than previous generations. Today, Apple's In-Cell display patent application has come to light. Yet perhaps the real story here is that Apple has clearly stated that this technology could apply to Macs and went out of their way to list the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and even a future iMac. So contrary to Tim Cook's adamant position that Apple has no interest in creating a hybrid MacBook-iPad variant whatsoever, today's patent filing shows that Apple's engineers were obviously given different instructions that contradict Apple's "marketing position." If the new Ultrabook Convertible segment becomes a run-away hit over the next 24 months, it's clear that Apple has a backup plan, just like they did when the 7" tablet segment proved to be the consumer's sweet spot. I personally have my fingers crossed that Apple will surprise us on this front sooner rather than later. Hey, a guy could dream can't he?
On December 27, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two display related patent applications from Apple. The first patent generally relates to liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and, more specifically, to a coated chassis for an LCD. According to Apple, the chassis could be made from a non-conductive material and be operable to support displays found on the iPhone, iPad, MacBook and even the touchpad on MacBooks. The coating could advantageously prevent or reduce noise in the device's antenna usually caused by the LCD. Because the conductive material adds little or no bulk to the device, it's able to maintain a compact size. The second patent relates to LCDs that include a panel having an array of metal oxide TFTs, which may be configured to reduce visual artifacts by providing reduced RC loading and parasitic capacitance, thus improving overall image quality. In one embodiment, the display may be a high-resolution LCD display having more pixels per inch, such as a Retina Display.
On December 6, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their intentions of integrating audio sensors and light emitters right into future displays. The new system could go far beyond just Macs and iDevices. According to Apple, their new invention could apply to visors for video glasses, to televisions screens to intelligently control the audio for various kinds of action and even apply to next-generation in-vehicle systems that will respond more accurately to voice controls. It sure sounds like Apple has big plans for this invention.
On November 29, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published patent applications from Apple covering a new haptic alert for a future iPhone along with a series of seven detailed applications regarding new touchscreen technologies that could be applied to iDevices on through to Apple's Cinema Display.
On June 28, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a system and method to improve image edge discoloration. Yet at the heart of the patent, Apple states that "some embodiments of the LCD panel may be a model of the Retina display, available from Apple Inc." So if you want to know the lowdown on Apple's Resolutionary display, or at least certain aspects of this magical beast, it's now here for you to feast your eyes on.
Since the summer of 2010 Patently Apple has been covering Apple's patent applications regarding a strong trend towards the development of a future MacBook with cellular-data capabilities. Just this past week, Patently Apple has discovered yet another new patent application on this subject in a filing that came to light in Europe earlier this year. This time around, Apple has brilliantly invented cellular antennas that could be integrated into a MacBook's Multi-Touch trackpad or directly into the display of an iOS device like an iPhone. That's important if Apple decides to design a future iPhone with a metal back. Now that the iPad offers 4G, the idea of the MacBook offering similar cellular-data capabilities sounds not only reasonable but inevitable.