On Christmas day 2014 the U.S. Patent and Trademark office reveals one of PrimeSense's key technologies relating to a 3D sensing device that is operated using a unique in-air gesturing system and user interface. The technology found its way into Microsoft's Kinect. The system could one day find its way into Apple TV and future Macs.
I was shopping for new display the other day when I stumbled onto a display from BenQ that featured special Low Blue Light technology designed specifically to target the problem of blue light exposure, which can cause eye damage and sleeplessness. The monitor comes with four preset Low Blue Light modes (30% reduction, Web-surfing – 50% reduction, Office – 60% reduction, and Reading – 70% reduction.) Considering that I and others work very long hours in front of a display each day, this kind of feature could be appealing. Earlier this morning I discovered a newly published patent application from Apple in Europe dated today that covers this basic theme of reducing bright backlight reflections using a special blue filter. Without recently bumping into the BenQ information, I wouldn't have understood the potential benefit of using such a special blue filter in a display.
Last week the BBC broadcast a special called "Apple's Broken Promises" that was heavily influenced and directed by the union group China Labor Watch and like-minded people like Ralph Nader. In my view, the China Labor group guided the documentary and the union members working at Apple plants with an axe to grind made sure the video showed depressed exhausted workers in the majority of the shots. But like any form of propaganda, the actors play to the camera to make a story fit the image they want to portray to their particular audience. In our report below we show you a photo from Apple on human rights. Here the workers are young vibrant cheery employees of a company under contract with Apple. There are two very different perspectives playing out. Apple could put together a video that shows how employees in Apple contracted plants are happy and inspired. It's all in the script. But if any tech company is trying to do something to advance the rights of workers, it's Apple. A patent filing in Hong Kong this month shows how Apple has or will laser etch assembly instructions into the inside of the iPhone in order to assist unskilled workers put the iPhone parts in the right order.
On December 18, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two patent applications from Apple that may interest some. The first reveals the details behind their invention that debuted with iOS 7 regarding emergency calls made with Siri. Technically, this is another patent fulfilled. The second patent application that we cover in this report reveals that Apple has revisited their invention relating to an oddball charging tower for iDevices. Specifically, Apple has rewritten their patent claims which prioritize the important aspects of their invention.
On December 18, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new unlock option being devised. The new method would involve Touch ID and the addition of a combination lock code using finger motion. While using Touch ID, the user would additionally move or shift their finger in various directions to hit a particular code sequence to unlock their devices. Apple illustrates two methods for this new virtual combination unlock feature in their patent filing.
On December 18, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their third 3D app invention that will allow users and/or artists to customize a 3D model. The designs could be changed, re-defined, re-drawn, smoothed or otherwise deformed so that the asset may have a seamless transition with the remainder of the model. This could also apply to create avatars for future games.
In January 2013 the first of a series of patents began to surface on the topic of a future video conferencing system. The first patent covered a very cool and unique video conference system for use with a future internet-enabled HDTV that integrated an advanced depth perceiving audio system. A year later an Apple patent revealed a multi-participant video conferencing architecture. Then in May a centralized home controller patent came to light. Apple envisioned that the new controller would control a TV, set-top box, stereo system and beyond. With Apple introducing their new HomeKit just weeks later at their developer conference, we were able to understand that the centralized home controller was going to be able to control home security, fire detectors, future appliances and so forth over time. The central home controller would make most sense being built into a future version of Apple TV, which is something that we discussed later in June. Yesterday, an Apple patent surfaced in Europe that revealed an easy to use multi-participant conferencing system using Apple TV in "Conference Room Mode." The system could be used at home or work, though the conferencing room feature is really meant for meetings at work. So in evolutionary fashion we're seeing a more focused project emerging to advance Apple TV in whatever form it takes in the future and it may even one day work itself into being a MobileFirst application.
On December 11, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals Apple's new iOS 8 Maps App Night Mode coming to CarPlay and working in sync with special in-vehicle conditions. On one hand this is a patent fulfilled with night mode for maps debuting with iOS 8. Yet on the other hand it is a patent application that foretells of the Maps App night mode working differently with vehicles using CarPlay.
On December 11, 2014 the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals the next generation feature for Passbook that was released with iOS 8; the feature that automatically displays a virtual ticket, coupon, and gift card as you near the related venue.
On December 11, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals future iDevices with a novel content redaction engine and tool. The content redaction engine of some embodiments determines whether to redact content for output based on whether a user is biometrically verified. If they are, the redaction is removed as noted in our cover graphic.
Late last year Apple's all-new Mac Pro tower was revealed with a wildly advanced design. One year later and everything you wanted to know about the new Mac Pro is revealed in a series of six patent applications. Report updated 8:25am MST
Apple has invented an apparatus that will make it easy for Apple's service team to replace an iPhone or MacBook battery quickly yet securely. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Battery Removal Apparatus," which covers various methods for removing a device battery. The good news is that it may allow technicians to save an iPhone out of warranty by replacing a battery rather than having to purchase a new costly iPhone. So while Apple isn't giving users direct access to the battery, it's the next best thing.
A year ago Apple added the camera function known as Burst mode to iOS 7. At the top of the year Apple acquired a one-man photo technology startup called "SnappyLabs," which specialized in a camera app for burst mode capture. Today, Apple's Burst Mode patent filing comes to light. (Click on our cover graphic to enlarge the image.)
Apple was busy in the summer of 2013 acquiring several mass transit app companies such as HopStop, Locationary and most notably Embark that had a great app for customizing trips in your city or in a new city you're visiting. Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their future mass transit "Commute App" that's now in the works.
On December 4, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a unique laser beam mapping invention. A future mapping application for an iDevice like an iPhone will use a laser sensor and laser beam to gather measurements of a room that includes shapes, distances, attributes of environmental objects and volume. While Apple's patent application provides us with an overview of the technical of the invention, they never really reveal the many applications that this invention could be applied to in the future. More than likely Apple will expand upon this invention in the future so as to provide us with more insight as to how consumers will be able to take advantage of this new laser beam system for iDevices that cover everything from an iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. While Apple is careful to not mention the word 3D, the nature of the measurements would suggest that the data collected in three axis mode would create a 3D model. It's definitely one of Apple's most interesting inventions of the year.