On January 22, 2015, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their work on improving the technology related to iDevice backlight units. Apple's invention covers new backlight technology that could potentially allow for high power efficiency while avoiding excessive battery drain. While this isn't an exciting whiz-bang invention, saving power can be realistically appreciated by everyone using any Apple MacBook or iDevice.
Last week we reported on an Apple invention relating to the iPhone or iPad Home Button doubling as a gaming joystick. It was so simple and yet so right. I had noted at the end of that report that it was a nice feature, even though it wasn't a total gaming solution. I guess the gaming gods wanted to remind us today that Apple indeed has other technology on hand to advance game-play functionality on iDevices. The U.S. Patent Office published a patent application today revealing an invention that covers iDevices having sensors built into the backside of the unit giving gamers controller inputs resembling standard gamepad functionality.
On January 15, 2015, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that discusses how GarageBand, Logic Pro or combination of these apps can create unique and customized drumming loops for various music genres. Apple's patent application was originally filed in July 2013 and published for the public viewing today.
On January 15, 2015, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of three patent applications from Apple that detail the specifics behind Apple Pay via Touch ID. The patent filings meticulously detail how the system will work with making future banking transactions or at current participating retailers and for purchasing apps and other digital media online via the App Store, iTunes and future online stores. The sole inventor behind all three patents that were originally filed in 2013 is Apple's software engineer Greg Kerr who came to Apple via the Authentec acquisition. Greg was VP of Software Development at Authentec.
On January 15, 2015, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a possible next-generation multi-functional iDevice Home Button. In the first mode, the Home Button retains its standard functionality. In the second mode, the Home Button transforms into a pure gaming joystick. The transition from one mode to the other is rather simple through a pressure sensor. This looks like it could be serious fun for gamers in the future.
Over the last month we've seen a few 3D patents surface at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from Apple, with two of them coming from PrimeSense, a company that they acquired. PrimeSense's technology was and/or still is behind Microsoft's Kinect. In December we posted two reports covering two of their patents that are now Apple's titled "Apple Patent Reveals a 3D Zoom-Based Gesture User Interface," and "Apple Invents a Highly Advanced Air-Gesturing System for Future iDevices and Beyond." PrimeSense was in fact a "3D sensing company," and this week Patently Apple once again discovered another 3D patent in Europe that Apple has inherited titled "Modular Optics for Scanning Engine." In order for Apple to include a 3D camera in upcoming iDevice designs, Apple will need to rely on technology developed by PrimeSense. Intel is pushing their RealSense 3D camera for 2015 with HP's Sprout desktop computer and Dell's new tablet leading the way. We discussed this further in one of this week's reports. Today's report briefly covers Apple's new technology covering optical 3D mapping technology.
On Jan 8, 2015, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals certain aspects of the technology behind fingerprint sensors that measure fingerprint patterning using electric field sensing. Apple notes that when the voltages on the finger are too high, as when using Touch ID, certain persons with very sensitive fingers may feel that voltage in form of a slight tingling. Apple's invention shows Apple's work on this problem that likely took place prior to Touch ID coming to market.
Back in 2012 we originally covered Apple's 3D eye-tracking interface invention that described 3D UI effects such as parallax, interaction within a virtual 3D world and more. Then late in December 2014 we covered Apple's granted patent regarding this technology. The patent was titled "Three dimensional user interface effects on a display by using properties of motion." Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a new patent application from Apple that shows that they're updating their 3D invention. The additions are key and in sync with a newly discovered patent in Europe today regarding a 3D camera.
Apple's esthetic police headed by Jonathan Ive have been hard at work inventing ways to kill off device housing apertures for good. Apple has been thinking of killing off iDevice speaker grills by having sound carry through specialized cover glass. They're switching to the audio connector working with the Lightning port to kill off the standard audio jack aperture. And now Apple wants to add to their collection of aperture killing methods by having light transmissive fillers fill holes when not in use so as to appear as if they're not really there. Do you think that Apple's idea is just a little farfetched? If you do, then think again, because Apple's current wireless keyboard for the iMac already uses this invention. In a way this would make it a patent fulfilled, though Apple's invention talks about taking this idea further to other devices. After checking out my iMac's keyboard indicator light when off and on, I was rather surprised at just how well this invention really works.
Earlier today we posted a report titled "Apple Patent Reveals a 3D Zoom-Based Gesture User Interface." That particular patent application stemmed from Apple's acquisition of PrimeSense, the company whose technology was used in Microsoft's Kinect. To show you that Apple is serious about air-gesturing, another patent application has surfaced today that has nothing to do with PrimeSense's technology and yet shares the same vision. This time air-gesturing is being considered and aimed at iDevices, Macs and for use at the Apple Store. The air-gesturing system is also recognized in Apple's patent filings as a touchless gesturing system. In the big picture, Apple's touchless gesturing system is quite extensive. Apple's research that was revealed today shows us that air gesturing may be coming to a future version of Apple TV, iDevices like the iPhone and iPad all the way through to Macs and beyond. Who do we thank for this cool patent application today – Apple or Santa? Either way it's a nice surprise.
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.