The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 40 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a patent relating to advanced haptics that could be used in many environments including video games. Apple notes that "in some instances, the signals outputted by the accelerometer may be used with interactive software (such as a video game) to provide an additional input device for user gameplay…" Today, Apple's advanced haptics are being incorporated into their upcoming Apple Watch.
Apple introduced a vision for a future version of their Magic Mouse back in 2010 that was the most descriptive patent filing on this subject matter. It described and illustrated how the next generation Magic Mouse would be able to sense a plurality of forces and applied velocities. It went into great detail about advanced gesture profiles for new "brush, scoop, tilt, and slide" capabilities. In 2013 Apple was granted their first patent on force sensing related to the Magic Mouse. Today, Apple has applied for a second patent on this future feature with refinements. In one example of using this future version of their Magic Mouse, Apple notes that "the amount of force may correspond to a height that a character in a video game is instructed to jump." Apple also envisions force sensing capabilities in a future Magic Mouse could apply to very sophisticated custom applications such as flight simulator and beyond.
On April 9, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a new granted patent from Apple that reveals a new feature that has yet to come to market. As such, Patently Apple will present this granted patent in the form a new patent application report that goes deeper into the technology presented. Apple has been razzed for a while now for not having a technology for the iPhone that is similar to Samsung's Beam that lets users share large files from one smartphone to another using NFC. Apple's newly granted patent provides such an interactions and so much more. Apple's solution works between a Mac and iPhone and provides editing software to crop, scale and adjust images. Apple had the technology mapped out in January 2010, or about 30 months prior to Samsung's public release of this feature for the Galaxy SIII.
On December 20, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Haptic Feedback Device." In the last eighteen months, Apple has worked on projects involving smart haptics and integrating a haptics layer into future devices so as to provide users with a greater sense of texture to their multitouch displays. Today's invention describes Apple's goal of creating virtual buttons that will feel like actual physical buttons to the touch and more importantly, having keys of virtual keyboards feel more like physical keys. As Apple describes it, they want the "user to feel as though the keys had been depressed." Considering that Apple lists "a keyboard of a computer and a track pad for a laptop," we see that Apple is thinking of adding haptics to devices beyond the iPhone and/or iPad. Apple revealed some rather elaborate work on this theme last September.
Today a user is able to assign a custom ringtone to a list of various contacts found in their address book. In fact, custom ringtones can apply to SMS/MMS messages, email and calendar events to audibly inform the user of an underlying notification or alert. Today, a new patent application from Apple published by the US Patent Office reveals that Apple is working on advancing the notification system so that users will be able to assign custom vibration patterns to various notification events such as incoming calls, emails and so forth by using a new user interface associated with custom haptics. Uniquely, users will also be able to purchase custom vibration patterns from developers and/or web services at Apple's App Store. In the future, you're likely to see services like Twitter, Facebook and your favorite news sites delivering unique iDevice vibration patterns to alert you of new updates and/or breaking news reports. In-part, the new feature was made available with iOS 6.
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.