On June 19, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published patent applications from Apple related to advancing Apple cameras for iDevices and Macs along with another original Touch ID patent that Apple acquired from Authentec. Apple's camera related patent is about advancing the actuator of an autofocus feature. While it's mildly interesting, it's the use of the term "artificial muscle" that makes it sound so incredibly futuristic, but really isn't. Apple notes that the term simply relates to electro-active polymer actuators which have been around for some time. Apple's use of it in a camera module isnt' new either as noted here and here. When this technology is applied to an artificial robotic hand, for instance, it could be understood why they use the term artificial muscle as seen here. And finally, a second patent of mild interest published today relates to one that Apple acquired from Authentec that presents the invention behind Touch ID authentication that focused on the biometrics being imlplemented into a smartphone Home Button.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 45 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's patent for a MEMS based autofocus actuator for iDevices which will provide faster response times, better photo stability and more. The inventor of this patent worked at Cambridge Mechatronics who specialized in auto focus actuators. Will this cause Apple any problems in the future or did Apple license part of the technology? Only time will tell. In addition, we cover Apple's newly awarded design patents and we wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Apple began to explore methods of adding camera lens accessories to iDevices in September 2010. The initial project was quite rudimentary and un-Apple-like to say the least, but then again, all projects need a basic starting point. Apple's R&D team apparently put this project on hold until they were able to come up with a more advanced magnetics based camera lens mechanism that they revealed this past January. Today in Apple's third patent application for camera accessories they explore alternative attachment methods and mechanisms. As noted above in our cover graphic, Apple's engineers present the new camera lens attachment on what appears to be an iPod touch. With Apple's iPod sales dropping every quarter, giving consumers the ability to add new zoom and wide angle camera lenses and filters to it could give this product segment a boost. Of course eventually, the system will spill over to all iDevices. It's a great idea. All we need now is for Apple to actually deliver it.
On February 27, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals yet another level of their fanatical attention to detail to ensure that iDevices rolling off the production line are particle and blemish free. Earlier today we posted another report covering Apple's intent to add self-healing material to iDevice and Mac display backlights to ensure that artifacts are self-eliminated. So while Apple advances their iDevices with features like Touch ID, we able to see through today's inventions that they also pay attention to the finer details that make premium Apple products. Today's report concludes with revisiting Apple's patent pending invention regarding a handheld standalone camera that Apple is still tweaking.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 31 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a new camera related patent. In 2010 Apple introduced a clip-on accessory designed to provide iDevices with zooming capabilities. Today's granted patent goes far beyond that simple concept and introduces us to a vastly superior add-on camera lens system for iDevices that will use a magnetic mechanism. According to Apple, the movement of the lens assembly by the voice coil motor may provide various optical functions such as autofocus, lens zoom, anti-shake, or a combination of such functions.
On January 23, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of nine patent applications from Apple. Earlier today we posted reports covering techniques for using sapphire on iDevice displays and another covering the mad science behind iAd's future ability of matching content to moods. In our final patent report of the day we briefly cover two new Apple inventions covering an in-focus camera lens system and a new iPhone interface for mobile recoding of conversations between two or more individuals. We conclude our report with a list of the remaining five patent applications that were published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 43 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today including several multitouch related patents and two relating to business covering "Mobile IP over VPN communication protocol" and "VPN Multi-participant conferences." Yet the one granted patent that stood out most today relates to digital cameras that employ a plenoptic imaging system that will provide a refocusable mode after image capture. While the invention relates to future cameras integrated into iDevices, Apple notes that the technology may also relate to a conventional standalone camera as well. Apple revealed a standalone camera invention back in 2009 and hinted of such again twice this year (one and two).
On August 15, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of 14 original patent applications from Apple. In this particular report we cover two distinct inventions. The first invention covers a new camera design specifically created for ever thinner iDevices and Macs. Apple could be first to market with a consumer camera using super advanced GRIN technology. The second invention is a new accessibility app that is tailored for Japanese and Chinese users. Considering that Apple's iPhone is the bestselling smartphone in Japan and is about to attack the Chinese market more aggressively with a new mid-level iPhone, it's only right that they begin to introduce more specialized software for these markets going forward.
Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of 15 original Apple patent applications. Our first report covered a wild concept that involves a unibody magnetic coating for MacBooks and/or the iPad and our second report covered inertial sensors for future MacBooks and/or Apple's Magic Mouse. In this report we mainly cover a new image sensor assembly for future iDevice cameras and a patent filing that provides us with a lot more detail about the makeup of Apple's new lighting connector that debuted with the iPhone 5.
On June 20, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two patent applications from Apple that reveal possible new improvements coming to future iDevice cameras. The first improvement involves providing iDevices with superior focus features while the second one relates to advanced video stabilization that Apple's engineer creatively calls the virtual tripod. Apple began working on video stabilization back in June 2011. A secondary patent months later once again illustrated that Apple's camera team were very focused on bringing video stabilization to iDevice cameras. Apple first introduced basic video stabilization on the iPhone in October of that year. Today's patent application both illustrates and confirms that Apple's push to achieve superior video stabilization results is an ongoing project.
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 Apple's gaze detection technology. It should be noted that Apple's current patent is a divisional patent which means that Apple is breaking this aspect of their 2008 parent patent out as an individual patent. Technically, Apple had this technology in a patent prior to any other competitor including Samsung which actually implemented it first in their Galaxy S4 smartphone earlier this year. Apple also added gaze technologies to a January patent in context to an HDTV related patent and the likes of Sony and BlackBerry are working on similar features. Today, when you put your iPhone to your face the display is turned off. This is one of the technologies found in Apple's gaze detection patent. In the future, gaze technology will be able to stop a video when you look away or stop your tunes from playing based on this gaze detection feature. At the end of the day, Apple's gaze detection technology is really more about conserving power than it is about providing a flashy gimmick.
Last week we learned about Apple inventing an all-new touch sensor panel that would support larger displays like those found on a MacBook Air or Pro. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals yet another major touch related invention relating to an all-new touch pad electrode design which is to reduce the effects of noise and thermal drift and to provide users with more precision in their interaction with a touch display. Another invention covered in our report covers an amorphous diamond-like carbon coating for increasing the thermal conductivity of the structural frames of any Apple mobile device that is battery-powered. We close out our report by covering a new camera patent and providing you with a list of continuation, provisional and divisional patents that were published today that may interest some.
On May 16, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a next generation lighting system for iDevices. The new system is designed to provide superior lighting to your photos day or night in a unique manner. Apple's patent also describes a new remote light source accessory while strongly hinting that a standalone camera is still a future option of theirs. With Samsung's Galaxy Zoom or the like on the horizon, a standalone or new kind of hybrid iDevice camera or advanced camera accessory isn't out of the question for the future.