On September 12, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals that legendary John Elias that was behind many of Apple's original multitouch patents that made the iPhone a reality is now back at refining the patent claims of a smart pen design that he first introduced in 2011.
On August 29, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new and elaborate collaboration system for videoconferencing that could be useful for the enterprise or for future distant leaning applications. The system introduces new interactive pie menus that will work with a sophisticated pen that will include memory and other advanced functions. Apple notes that as the pen advances toward the menu presented on a large presentation screen, an opening will automatically be created in the menu so that no content is covered by the presenter's hand or arm. Additionally, Apple notes that the new menu system will work with custom applications designed for this system yet also work with traditional software such as Photoshop, PowerPoint, and other common applications. Apple must think this is an important invention considering that this is a follow-up application to their already granted patent issued back in March.
Every once in a while we check out various IP databases around the world to see if we could find any Apple activity. Well, Bingo, we found three all new smart pen patents from Apple that are chock full of great ideas. In between Apple's US patent filings published in May and December, Apple's engineers were filing new patents in Europe that were published just two months ago. These have not been published in the US yet and so they're new to us. And boy does Apple go deeply into the rabbit hole or what. Apple has a ton of new ideas on how to advance the smart pen. Yet the one twist that I thought was intriguing is that Apple appears to be seriously thinking of turning smart pen tips into an accessory business. Do you want your pen to be a brush? No problem, here is a new pen tip for that: Ka-Ching. Do you want your pen to double as a bar code reader? No Problem, here is a tip for that: Ka-Ching. And there are a lot of "Ka-Chingy" ideas in these three new patents to go around. Check it out.
Our last patent report for 2012 goes to a new patent application that was published by the US Patent office last week regarding an advanced "Active Stylus." Over the years, Apple has stated that they weren't interested in a 7" iPad and now it's going to be one of Apple's hottest selling products in 2013. Apple denied they had interest in a cellphone of their own and storing data in the sky, now the cloud, was quite humorous to Steve Jobs. Yes, Apple has said they weren't interested in certain products just to turn around and actually deliver them as the next great thing. The old boring dumb stick called the stylus is another one that Steve Jobs supposedly didn't like and at the time it made sense. Yet it's just a known fact that Apple's engineers have been working on "reinventing" the stylus for years now, contrary to their public stance. Even the idea that it was too easy to lose a stylus has been overcome with the advent of Apple's work with encoded magnets that's behind the iPad's Smart Cover product. Today, the stylus is more like a crayon than a pen. Samsung's Galaxy Note product with a stylus is a case in point. It just sucks as a pen. Apple's latest invention introduces the "active stylus" to overcome common stylus problems and names the iPhone and iPad by name as products that may be able to take advantage of the active stylus in the future.
On May 24, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two major patent applications from Apple relating to a future iPen. In our first report published this morning titled "Apple Sheds More Light on their iPen & Graphics Program," we covered Apple's push into specialized haptics for a future iPen. In our second report, we focus on Apple's consideration of using an optical based iPen. The unique angle taken by Apple's optical pen is a fascinating approach to determine a pen's location on a tablet surface. One of the secrets utilized in this approach uses invisible indicia.
On May 24, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that sheds more light on their future iPen and related graphics program. Apple continues to spend time and R&D funding on a future iPen device that's being designed to work with all of Apple's tablet-styled iDevices. The focus found in today's invention is twofold. Firstly, Apple is thinking of adding advanced haptics to the iPen so that the end user will be able to feel brush strokes and/or line thicknesses for example. Secondly, Apple is designing the iPen with a built-in mini speaker so as to provide users with various forms of audio feedback. To make all of this interesting and relevant, Apple sheds a little light on how their iPen will work with either a new graphics/paint program of their own and/or with known apps such as Autodesk and Microsoft's Paint.
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 magnetscoming to a new MacBook Dock in a secondary patent.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 18 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. One of the most important patents within this group is for a super smart-pen. In fact, it's so smart that it's described as being a portable computer. The smart-pen, which is noted as using an ARM processor, is also likely to incorporate recording capabilities and act as a pager, as the pen incorporates a tiny LCD. The patent notes that the device's rechargeable battery may also incorporate pyroelectricity and a custom-built solar cell. It should be noted that Apple has likely acquired this patent from a Great Britain inventor who originally filed the patent in 1998 or nine years prior to Livescribe coming to market. This is important – as a recent Apple patent application which reflects Livescribe-like capabilities is actually building on the foundation of this newly granted patent and advances the smart pen to include voice, face and object recognition modules and more. This is Apple's thirteenth smart-pen related patent since 2009. The trend illustrates that Apple is attempting to develop a family of smart pens for future iOS devices that would appeal to both the artist and enterprise user. The depth of innovation illustrated in Apple's string of smart-pen patents goes far beyond purely defensive measures.
According to our Smart Pen Archives, Apple has now filed more than a dozen smart pen patent applications over the last few years with each one getting more innovative and detailed. One of the most advanced patent applications on smart pens to date was published this past April and one of two patent applications on this subject published today illustrates that Apple is really trying to find a smart pen solution that could also work with ordinary paper. Students and professional doodlers alike could work on ordinary paper and/or notebooks and then simply transfer their data to the device of their choosing when they're done. Other equally innovative ideas that surfaced today include a unique heating element that provides the iPen's tip with smooth action on the display in any temperature and even an integrated iPen dock to charge the Pen's battery. With Apple working on so many advanced iPen options of late, it's evident that the Crazy Ones in Cupertino think that they're closing in on the perfect smart pen.
A number of patents have surfaced over the last two years concerning light pens and apps moving to touch screens. While one of the first detailed patents surfaced in 2009 in relation to business forms, we've since seen some serious advances in Apple's pursuit of the Smart-Pen including a huge leap in the field of graphics pens. It's the latter that's interesting in light of Apple's latest patent revelation that Aperture is coming to touch displays including handhelds like the iPad. It may even come to future desktops and laptops that offer touch displays, according to Apple. An advanced graphics pen would be great for fast photo touch-ups and appreciated by photographers using Aperture on-the-go. Who knows, maybe Apple is even gearing this up for future hybrid systems. Time will tell.
If I didn't carefully read the overview of a recent Apple patent, I could have easily missed the entire revelation of a new smart pen system that is being worked on in Apple's hallowed Cupertino labs. Although Apple has been amassing smart pen patents over recent years, nothing comes close to this one. The funny thing about this one is – there's not a single smart pen graphic to be had. No, this patent is different. This patent provides us with an overview, a master plan of how a smart pen could fit into the bigger picture. Apple is working on a very complex information collecting and retrieval system that is military grade and the smart pen simply plays a major role. Prior to the iPhone coming to market, the naysayers said that Apple would never get into the phone business. They just didn't get Apple's vision of "Think Different" – no matter their lip-service to the concept. Well, it's time to think different, again – whether they like it, or not.
In our second granted patent report of the day, we present you with a number of Apple's granted patents relating to Mail, Aperture and iPhoto. Yet perhaps the more important granted patents of the day go to two specific patents covering Apple's e-ink and magnetometer technologies; the latter of which is central to Apple's geo-location services found in all current iPhone and 3G iPad devices.
Last July Apple was granted a patent for a graphics tablet and since then several other specialty pen and display patents have come to light. Today's patent report covers a new stylus-friendly touch display designed to work with a new kind of stylus that works with a conductive disk and unique pivoting head. While the proposed pen system could be used with standard iPhone apps, the patent clearly points to the system being more graphics oriented as it mentions working with brush tools and the like. And lastly, the new pen even has a gaming angle to it that could be fun.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 18 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this first group includes one that relates to Apple's portable device retail packaging that Steve Jobs lent a hand in somehow and another for invisible light transitive displays that have, in-part, already been put into action on MacBooks. Lastly, Apple has won their fourth and fifth Light Sensitive displays in the last four months. The proof of a future display working with an advanced light-pen is certainly gathering steam.