The timing of Apple's new micro SIM connector patent couldn't be more perfect in light of the battle between Nokia and Apple over the design of future miniature SIM cards for mobile devices. It's even been reported that Nokia has threatened to withdraw 50 or so SIM card related patents from ETSI if the Apple proposal is approved. Today's patent application sheds a little more light on the subject by illustrating that Apple's proposed SIM card connector could be utilized beyond smartphones and into devices such as Apple's MacBook Pro, iPod touch or even a monitor which could technically cover future televisions. The ability to transfer a SIM from one device to another is perhaps one of the advantages to Apple's design and why the ETSI is strongly considering it as a standard. In the era of mobility and device interconnectivity, Apple's solution may be the winner.
A new patent application from Apple this morning shows us that they're looking at delivering a little more buzz to future iOS devices. Then again, it could be a pulse, vibration and/or other sensation because what's being described here is advanced haptics. The buzz before the launch of the "new iPad" was that Apple was going to introduce haptics from Senseg that would give users the ability to actually feel textures on their new Resolutionary Retina Display. I was stunned at the quality of the Retina display and I would have flipped if they would have added this feature. But it wasn't meant to be, just yet. Apple first introduced the idea of bringing haptics to the iPhone a year ago and today's patent sheds a little more light on the subject. Advanced haptics will freak us out at the realism it could bring to science books, artwork, photography – and yes, games. Advanced Haptics could very well end up being a game changer for the senses, to be sure. With a little patience, we'll one day have our cake and eat it too.
Once in a while we're treated to a new Apple invention that virtually contains a new self-contained world of possibilities and vocabulary to enrich it. It comes out of the blue and feeds our need for meaty new technology brimming with potential. Today is such a day. This is such an invention. Apple's invention reveals a wild world of programmable magnetic devices, and more particularly, to security for computing devices and peripherals that may be provided by programmable magnets. And yet, it reveals so much more than that. Apple envisions this technology eventually working into iOS devices to produce wild haptic effects using Ferrofluids on touchscreens and virtual keyboards. It will also allow Apple's iOS to present light based points on the display as a way to guide a user through a process like a teacher. This is wild stuff folks and it only scratches the surface of what's to come. Grab a coffee, sit back and really enjoy one of the most fascinating patent applications to have surfaced in some time. Update 4 PM MST: Apple reveals inductive charging and/or other wireless charging using coded magnets coming to a new MacBook Dock in a secondary patent.
On December 1, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's hardware using non-visual controls. Apple's new invention also describes using Siri-like voice control assistance in future devices. This is likely the first of many new patents to follow covering this new trend of advancing to next generation interfaces that will one day be used in our home appliances, built-into our kitchen counter tops, used in our vehicle dashboards and far beyond.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 14 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our fourth granted patent report of the day we take a look at a patent that may one day provide 3D Motion to Apple's Mighty Mouse, to their Apple TV Remote, the iPhone and perhaps even a gamepad. The second granted patent that we review today touches on the iPhone's capability of interfacing with high tech gym equipment to monitor your vitals at a higher degree.
On September 8, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals more details on their portable point-of-sales (POS) system. Apple first filed a patent application for their POS system back in Q1 2010 which was later granted to them in July 2011. The news of such a system actually being piloted at a few of Gap Inc's Old Navy stores first leaked to 9to5 Mac in December 2010. In today's latest patent application Apple reveals that their POS scanning device is capable of scanning multiple barcodes in different sizes with different symbologies in a single swipe and then instantly transferring the data to an electronic sales form for processing. Although Apple is recognized as a global leading consumer centric company, it appears that Apple's push into a Point-of-Sale system could very well be the first of many specialized systems for both retail and enterprise markets in the years to come. Are you listening Wall Street?
Amongst some of yesterday's seemingly minor Apple granted patents was one that I almost overlooked. It seemed like a patent describing Apple's SIM card slot assembly and no more. Yet under closer investigation, it became clear that Apple has their eye on expanding the use of their ejectable component assembly. The patent points to other future applications such as memory cards or perhaps a tiny SD card. But the real eye opener here is that Apple is considering integrating things like microprocessor or integrated circuit cards. That translates into how the iWallet component will come to be in the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and other future miniature devices. You'll simply pop your mini-credit card chip into one of these protected ejectable assemblies just like you do today with a SIM card.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 17 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include two iPhone related User Interface designs, another for their Mini DisplayPort and others relating to iTunes and their fantastic LED backlit displays. Yet one of the star patents that were granted to Apple today, is definitely one that involves a futuristic 3D stereoscopic display. Is Apple whetting our appetite for a possible future 3DTV system? Here's to hoping that Apple could actually one day deliver something beyond a little black box called Apple TV.
Apple finally introduced a camera system with their latest iPod touch and they're already preparing for their next wave of advanced camera technology releases. We've already seen a new Apple patent showing us that they're considering a zoom camera accessory for iOS devices and in their latest patent application published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office we see that Apple is considering a new advanced camera flash system. The system covers such matters as a flash redirector, new imaging sensors like one that focuses in on scene conditions and much more. While the new advances may be found in future iOS devices, the patent clearly states that this new flash system could eventually be integrated into the iMac, Apple's MacBook lineup and yes – even a dedicated video camera. I mean, why not take over the world of digital photography, right?
On August 5, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals various concepts behind a newly advanced Smart Bicycle System in development. The premise is rather like Apple's Nike + iPod system for runners except for cyclists. While the system is for individuals, it's also designed to work with teams of cyclists so that they could communicate with each other on-the-fly about course difficulty or perceived problems. The Bicycle system monitors speed, distance, time, altitude, elevation, incline, decline, heart rate, power, derailleur setting, cadence, wind speed, path completed, expected future path, heart rate, power, and pace. The system could utilize various sensors built-into the iPhone in addition to working with sensors already built-into the bike itself. Apple's patent is extraordinarily detailed and packed with interesting twists that the sporting cyclist will really appreciate.
On June 24, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals various concepts behind a newly advanced shape shifting device interface that could transform a flat interface into a physical 3D embodiment. It could create a physical tactile keypad on a future iPhone or iPod Classic interface and technically provide the iPad with a physical-like keyboard. This incredible concept is packed with wild concepts that could transform a device automatically by simply being in a room with a notable temperature change. The concept could alter an iPod Classic to be a TV remote with various buttons in a configurable interface that will blow your mind. This is definitely a candidate for patent of the year and if Apple ever gets this out to market, it's ball game over for the iPhone and iPod wannabe's of this world.
Could one of Apple's Next Great Things be a Desk-Free Computer? I'd like to think not – but Apple seems to think that it could be and I'm not about to challenge their thinking on this one. They've been right about the iPod, the iPhone and over time – I think most of us know that their iPad is headed for the history books as well. With the iPad not even a week old yet – it was nothing short of amazing to read Apple's visionary statement that they "may provide an entirely new category of computer system as compared to desktops and laptops." In fact, Apple went even further by stating that "such an approach may allow the computer system to be a desk-free computer." There's no doubt that this has a certain Apple flair to it that could eventually lead us back to Revolutionary Road. Yet before we get there, I fully expect this to be controversial for some time to come.
Last November we reported on Apple's preliminary work on Millimeter-Wave and (NFC) Near Field Communication applications. One of the more unique applications that we presented at that time was Apple's concept of an iTunes Music Kiosk. It now appears that Apple's R&D teams are exploring a second type of concept retail kiosk. This time their focus is on providing consumers with the ability to purchase customized iTunes Gift Cards in a retail environment. The first idea is to enable the consumer to purchase a personalized iTunes Gift Card using either a stock photo from Apple's library or one from their own home photo library as the background of the card. The second idea is to provide consumers with the ability to purchase customized or personalized custom fitted gift cards that will fit inside Apple's retail packaging. Move over Hallmark – there's a new kid in town.
On May 7, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's patent application relating to media distribution and, more particularly, to controlling media distribution to personal media devices using a media distribution kiosk. Although the concept of an iTunes Store Kiosk had been rumored since 2006, the proof of such a development is now in hand. Apple's iTunes Store Kiosks will introduce us to something that Apple calls a virtual physical connector. By establishing a virtual physical connection as opposed to using the media device's actual connector, the wear on the media device's connector is minimized. The virtual physical connection also reduces the likelihood of eavesdropping, hacking, and overloading of a wireless connection between the media distribution kiosk and a media device. The virtual physical connection further eliminates the need for a media device to connect with a possibly damaged, worn, or unreliable connector of a publicly or environmentally exposed media distribution device. Apple's kiosk will utilize a limited RF range connection to ensure security. The kiosks will also allow users the ability to access one or more of their own existing libraries of media content at a different location. The new kiosks may also include a web browser using a touch screen display much like the new HP tourist kiosks. The kiosks will work with Apple handhelds such as the iPod touch, iPhone and notebooks and allow burning content such as music and/or movies to CD, DVD's or Blu-ray Disk. Apple also introduces us to a new security feature called a presence sensor. This will assist users make secure and private wireless purchases.