On December 27, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a major patent application from Apple that reveals more of their total SIM solution that may have played a role in The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) choosing their design back in June.
Before there ever was a Project Glass from Google, there was Apple's Glass Project in the form of a patent application filed in late 2006, published in 2008 and granted in 2009. Apple's Glass Project seemed to have fallen off the grid until July 2012 when a new patent application laid out some new parameters for their future glasses. The new glasses were being designed to work with augmented reality but more importantly, they were being designed with telephonic capabilities in mind. In one of the new patent reports that we posted yesterday, we pointed to Apple describing future video glasses that would integrate hidden audio sensors within the glass or frame to enhance voice commands capabilities. Little did we know that the best data was yet to come. Late last night, Patently Apple discovered a powerful new patent application that details some rather interesting features that Apple is considering for a future headset. Perhaps that Glass War that we described last month is going to be a lot more interesting than we initially thought.
On December 6, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published well over seventy-five patent applications from Apple. The vast majority of these filings were about boring everyday necessities to keep products humming along like video codecs, security sandboxing, backup and restore functionality, Flash Memory techniques and stuff to keep the iPhone advancing, such as integrating Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (ODFM) technologies, and more. Yet within this mountain of new patent filings we were able to find a number interesting advancements to standing projects worth noting. In this particular report we specifically focus on three areas of technology. The first relates to ejectable component modules for e-commerce, the second relates to iDevice thermal management technologies and the third relates to all things photography.
On November 8, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published twenty-two patent applications from Apple which included twelve original applications and ten continuation patents. In this report we cover a future streamlined cooling system primarily designed for an iPhone.
Three years ago we called for an ultrathin iMac and today Apple delivered it. The new thinner iMac design was mainly accomplished by eliminating the optical drive as they did with their MacBook Air and other MacBooks over time. Yet to be fair to Apple's industrial design team lead by the fanatical Sir Jony Ive, they sweated over the details to refine the LCD process and even used a new welding process called "Friction Stir Welding" in order to get the thinner design just right. And in the heart of this new beast lies an all-new hybrid hard drive that Apple calls a Fusion Drive; a drive that fulfills a 2011 patent application.
Yesterday the World IP Organization published a host of unique patents relating to flexible displays. Once you hear the words "flexible displays" your mind immediately conjures up all kinds of contorted smartphone designs because that's what the competition, like Samsung, have been promoting for some time now at tradeshows. And being a hardware centric company, you expect that from them. Yet Apple is a different cat. They're the guys who Think Different, remember? So while the competition is stuck in hardware overdrive, Apple is working diligently at finding unique ways to exploit flexible displays. That's really what yesterday's patents revealed once you got through the camouflage of concave and convex display detailing. Our report shows you a few of the little gems that came to light.
On September 20, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of 17 patent applications from Apple. In this report we briefly cover Apple's latest efforts at harnessing power through electromagnetic induction. Apple has something up their sleeve for better powering future devices longer. While I'm not sure that today's invention is the magic bullet, Apple's Phil Schiller thinks there's a better solution out there. He just doesn't want to spill the beans just yet … maybe. Time will tell.
Some weeks there just isn't a wining patent declared by a rocking TKO. This week is such a case but that doesn't mean that that there weren't a series of solid inventions, because there were. A series of patent applications came to light today relating to improvements in the works for iDevice haptics, Apple's iSight camera, flash memory and accessibility for the hearing impaired. More times than not it's the simple utility patents like these that end up being implemented by Apple.
On August 2, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of patent applications from Apple on the topics of SIM cards, radio transparent materials for portable devices, video editing and many other utility patents.
Apple has been toying with a heads-up display or video glasses since 2006 and they've already been granted a patent for their invention. Then earlier this month Apple's video glasses project won a surprising second patent which we covered in our report titled "Apple's Special Project for a Video Telephonic Headset Wins a Second Patent." Today, the US Patent Office published a new patent application from Apple regarding a future heads-up display that focuses on delivering Retina Display like quality to a smaller display that's powered by a much smaller battery than an iPhone. While today's patent fills a need in Apple's video glasses project it has to be one of the driest reads of the year. For those interested in the finer details of this invention, check out Apple's latest patent application titled " Display Resolution Increase with Mechanical Actuation."
On May 31, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple revealing a new fault monitoring battery system. Apple states that the fault-monitoring mechanism will generate an alert and/or disable use of a portable electronic device containing the battery pack. For example, the fault-monitoring mechanism may indicate the fault through a visual alert (e.g., color-changing mechanism) or an audible alarm. Additionally, our report briefly touches on Apple's Audio Jack Assemblies patent and concludes with a simple question: Is Apple Changing Gears?
On May 03, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published 14 patent applications from Apple. We first reported on a wild new haptics system from Apple this morning and in our final patent report of the day we briefly cover most of the remaining applications. Our report covers a lot of ground including a new battery design, a new camera feature and tweaks to both the Mac Mini and high speed cable connectors. Could the tweaks to the high speed connectors have anything to do with the rumored round dock connector slated for the next iPhone? Only time will tell.
On April 26, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published three interesting patent applications from Apple. In the first one, Apple seeks to patent their Upper West Side (NYC) retail store structure that's located at 67th Street and Broadway. Just last week they filed a similar patent application for their Shanghai Apple Store. This trend of patenting "Flagship" store designs is likely to be a trend that will continue going forward. In a second patent application, we see that Apple has developed a new OLED driver which indicates that Apple is considering OLED for future MacBook and iOS device displays. The advantage to OLED is that display-backlighting isn't required. In the third patent application we see that Apple is legally beefing up their patent pending MacBook Air by including nine related patent applications under one roof. Is Apple making this move to protect their design if challenged or could it be used offensively in the future against copycat OEM designs hiding under Wintel's Ultrabook banner? Time will tell.
On April 19, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two of Apple's inventions relating to next generation connectors designed with slimmer devices in mind. The new connectors that are designed to be smarter, stronger and safer will apply to all of Apple's future hardware.
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.