On August 19, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that appears to be describing a next generation autofocus feature for future iOS devices that will add speed enhanced autofocus operations. Technically speaking, any of the camera features described in Apple's patent could equally apply to iSight.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 33 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today of which 11 were designated Industrial design patents. The notables within the other lot includes three core patents covering Apple's MacBook Multi-Touch Trackpad, Apple's embedded iSight camera with privacy filter and lastly a key patent covering proximity and light sensors used in Apple's iPod touch, iPad and iPhone.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 15 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Besides winning 5 design patents covering the iPod Classic and iPod nano, the notables within this group include one that relates to the iPod being used as a remote control and another that relates to color correction information in a camera. The latter is perhaps the most interesting granted patent published today - due to the fact that Apple has just filed a patent infringement law suit against Kodak. Yet on a second note, Apple's aggressiveness against Kodak could also be a sign that Apple is planning yet a further push into cameras in the future that cover both digital still and video cameras. Apple's granted patent image noted above is not that of an iPod camera but rather a traditional stand alone camera which is in line with a patent application they filed in July 2009. While today's granted patent could have simply been covering a basic "conceptual camera" for illustration purposes only, one could never know what Apple has on their roadmap until they announce it. Stay tuned.
On Feb 25, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's iPhone. Today's patent reveals yet another innovative concept that is designed to help users control their incoming calls and voicemail by simply swiping their finger over the external camera lens. It will control rewinding and fast forwarding voicemail. In addition, the new methodology will also enhance one handed navigation of web pages, documents, a contact list or your iTunes library by simply swiping the camera lens in different swiping motion combinations. In the future, the iPad may be able to take advantage of this feature if the camera is positioned correctly. This would theoretically allow a user to simply flick a finger over the camera lens to turn the page of a book or scroll a webpage without ever having to move your hand. This is an excellent idea on several fronts that will have Apple's competition on the run, again.
Yesterday a couple of oddball Apple Media Player patents came to light and yet each was important in its own right. One was so obvious, that I almost missed it. Being that this might be the year that I finally take the leap into digital photography, I saw Apple's patent present a digital camera, like an EOS Rebel from Canon, connected directly to an iPod. Surely this must be available now, no? NNNNN-No. I called my local Apple Store and explained what I was looking for, what was in yesterday's patent - and asked if they had it in stock. No, it doesn't exist, yet – was the reply. It may be coming to the iPad but no word yet for an iPod or iPhone, stated the Apple Rep. So unless my local Apple Store is full of idiots, Apple's patent has yet to come to life. The patent states that you'll be able to plug a still or video cam directly into your iPod or iPhone. Whether this is being reserved for Light Peak or USB 3.0 is unknown, but this is a very cool idea. The second patent discovered yesterday simply adds a little more proof that Apple is working on a rotatable video camera element that enables you to take regular videos of friends and events while being able to turn the camera lens inward so as to become a video cam for video calling. This is Apple's second patent this quarter discussing this feature.
On January 28, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's iPod Touch. The patent covers both the iPod touch and iPhone gaining a video camera. Being that the iPhone 3G-S now has that built-in, it's obvious that Apple's iPod touch is next in line. A secondary patent of interest relates to the iPod touch gaining an LED backlight display sometime in the future.
On July 23, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals various concepts behind the design of a dual-purpose hardware aperture on a portable electronic device. The dual apertures could be used to incorporate a microphone and speakers or used as a dual card slot. Although Apple emphasizes that multiple devices such as the iPhone, iPod or even MacBooks could be utilize this invention, the only key embodiment presented in the patent is that of a new upright camera design/concept.