On May 8, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application regarding methods for improving AMOLED displays. Today's patent pending invention covers new methods for greatly improving gray level controls that improves overall color. While some may not take Apple's work on AMOLED too seriously because of disparaging comments that Apple executives have made over time, think again. While Apple's CEO was talking at the Goldman Sachs conference held on February 12, 2013 he stated that "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. Some people use OLED displays, but the color saturation is awful." Yet while Apple's CEO was downplaying OLED publicly, the fact is that Apple had just recruited a former senior researcher at LG Display to work on OLED display technology a week earlier. Apple's executives downplay current OLED displays available from competitors, but that doesn't mean that Apple can't vastly improve upon it for future products that use flexible displays that are primarily OLED based.
Believe it or not, Apple was well ahead of the pack when they were first granted a patent for a video headset display back in 2009. Back then, there was no Google Glass or Sony video headset. Apple's original patent was filed in 2006 which was in and around the time that Apple was working on Project Purple which was the code name for the iPhone. Since that time Apple has been working on other aspects or features for a possible future headset, with one them being the addition of telephony. With Apple recently acquiring PrimeSense who has a patent regarding a headset on record, there appears to be new interest in advancing Apple's personal display system. With PrimeSense making Microsoft's Kinect system a reality and their technology being at the heart of new 3D camera phones like Google's Project Tango coming to market this year, the PrimeSense team may be able to breathe new life into Apple's video headset project. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals that they're advancing one of their video headset patents by adding new and improved patent claims to strengthen and update their invention. As Tim Cook recently stated, "we care about every detail. And when you care about every detail and getting it right, it takes a bit longer to do that." Longer term projects such as this cool video headset would definitely fit Cook's philosophical view like a glove
On May 8, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a super-resolution camera engine for iDevices and beyond. In camera shootouts against Samsung's Galaxy S5, Apple's iSight camera fares well. Now Apple's super-resolution engine is out to vastly improve stabilizing shots, especially action and panoramic shots for higher clarity.
On May 01, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals possible future CarPlay user interface features. One such feature is a simple buy button allowing the passenger of the car to make a quick purchase of a tune heard on the radio. Although Apple doesn't mention it, I'm sure that they're working on a "Siri" voice command equivalent that wouldn't be distracting to the driver. Last week we learned that Apple invented a technology likely aimed at Carplay that will not allow a driver to text while their vehicle is running. REPORT UPDATED 8:45 PST: The report now extends to five Apple patents covering CarPlay and iTunes Radio.
On May 1, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their vision for possible future Mac Keyboards that support gesture controls and multi-colored in-key displays to support the presentation of symbols such as a Safari or app icons for Pages, Keynote and others in addition to supporting different languages and other kinds of keyboard layouts. Apple's concept of a multi-touch & gesture combination keyboard first surfaced in March in context with a new iPad cover keyboard.
Last Thursday the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of 82 patent applications from Apple. While we only highlighted three of the patent applications (one, two and three) that were most interesting to the general Apple community, the fact remains that there were many other inventions that could appeal to many niche communities that have specialty skills. In this report we've compiled a list of 50 of the remaining 82 patent applications and their respective hyperlinks so that the curious explorer could find some of Apple's little hidden treasures that didn't get much attention last week. Enjoy the hunt.
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 24, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of three patent applications from Apple that revisits the many authentication systems that Apple is working on beyond just a fingerprint scanner. Apple touches on retinal scanning, eye tracking, voice prints and other systems for the iPhone and MacBook Pro alike. For the MacBook Pro, the biometric sensor could be built right into a familiar keyboard key or in the palm rest. Lastly, Apple adds retina scans to one of their patents patent claims to ensure that it's a protected future feature option.
Earlier today we posted a report titled "Two new Biometric Patents from Apple Surface Covering Anti-Spoofing Measures and More" that covered a new "doodle" authentication process. In another patent application filing published by the US Patent & Trademark Office today, Apple reveals the next level of passcode authentication process for iDevices and Macs that involve a color coded combination feature covering "password gestures." The new method is to both strengthen the current authentication process using Touch ID and to provide an alternative method of authentication for those Apple fans that have decided to opt out of using Touch ID due to their distrust of the US government's NSA spying processes that have been in the news of late. The race is on to secure these next-gen authentication processes, as others like Samsung have patents on record for this, though Apple's filings are dated a year or more ahead of theirs. And with Apple suing Samsung over "Slide to Unlock," securing patents for this advanced process is important. UPDATE April 19, 2014 11 PM PST - Addressing Fanatical Android Fans
On April 17, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two new biometric related patent applications from Apple. While one invention delves into various methods that Apple's Touch ID may be using today or could be using in the future, the other introduces us to a new and unique anti-spoofing measure that they aptly call the "Doodle" mode that could be used with the iPhone and/or future Macs.
Earlier today Patently Apple discovered a patent application filing that listed one of Apple's leading product design engineers. The patent application was published under its inventor's names as a means of avoiding being published under Apple's name at the US Patent Office. Legally speaking, Apple only has to appear as the assignee after the patent application has been granted. This is a somewhat common practice that Apple uses to keep specific intellectual property out of the lime light until the last possible moment. The discovery today covers a rather simple invention. It's about providing Apple TV with a much larger heat sink. Today's Apple TV supports a 32-bit single-core A5 processor. But if Apple should ever decide to adopt their faster A7 or future A8 64-bit single or multi-core processors to support gaming, it would need a larger heat sink. In context, last Wednesday iFixit uncovered a larger heat sink in Amazon's new Fire TV that's aiming at Android gaming. The trend is obvious.
Earlier this week we posted a report titled "Apple Secretly Moves Next-Gen iPhone Baseband Processor Development In-House to Possibly Enhance Security." Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that may reveal yet another aspect of Apple's future radio systems. Apple's new patent relates to the field of wireless communication, and more particularly to a system and method for performing location-based updating of subscriber identity information in an iDevice which utilizes an embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM).