The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 39 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second and final granted patent report of the day we cover patents relating to the iPad's Smart Cover and a capacitive sensor panel that is dynamically reconfigurable to accommodate a feature such as pinch and zoom. We conclude our report listing the remaining 32 patents that were granted to Apple today.
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.
On February 28, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a system for magnetically attaching a tablet device to a supporting structure. Apple presents us with a series of possible new iPad stand configurations for such applications as a super advanced music stand, a way to connect two iPads together to create a notebook with a large virtual keyboard or a way to create a portable gaming system with an advanced video game controller. Apple has some wild ideas worth noting in this invention.
Well, talk about timing. The buzz over Apple's iWatch has been at fever pitch all week. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an advanced wearable computer in the form of a bracelet that could double as a watch. That's the key, as the bracelet goes far beyond being a wristwatch. Apple states that with a multitouch display, the user "can accomplish a number of different tasks including adjusting the order of a current playlist, or reviewing a list of recent phone calls. A response to a current text message can even be managed given a simple virtual keyboard configuration across the face of the flexible display." Apple also contemplates utilizing a solar panel beneath the display as well as take advantage of kinetic energy. This is one hot little invention and the drum that's been beating very loudly of late calling for an iWatch, appears to be well into development. Report Update March 01, 2013
On January 17, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new product in the form of a removable device clip. The advanced clip may offer tactile buttons or a transparent glass touchpad. The clip could be used as a remote control. The removable clip could be applied to an iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook and yes, even a "convertible notebook." If you like to bring your iPod or iPhone to a workout, the clip will be able to provide users with an added level of convenience with quick to control buttons. The clip will attach to devices via a magnetic mechanism.
On January 3, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published patent applications from Apple relating to their push notifications system and new MagSafe 2 connector. The new MagSafe 2 connector was announced at Apple's June 2012 World Wide Developer Conference in conjunction with the debut of the MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina Display. The new connector was designed to better fit the slimmer notebook designs. In late 2012, Samsung sued Apple over their push notifications system in Korea. It'll be interesting to see if Apple's notification system patent will get approved by the US Patent Office in time for this case – as Apple's system applies to both iOS and Mac hardware which could differentiate their system enough to strengthen their position.
On January 3, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's Revolutionary EarPods patent application. Apple's EarPods came to market when they launched the iPhone 5 last September. Apple describes them as a "breakthrough design." The new EarPods provide for a more natural fit with increased durability and an incredible acoustic quality reserved for higher-end earphones.
About two years ago we published a report titled "Apple Could Advance Gaming & Paint in Magic Mouse Upgrade." Today, a supporting patent has surfaced that relates to methods for how the magic mouse could process combinations of kinematical inputs such as force and velocity. According to Apple, the invention may have applicability to any electronic system or application capable of receiving input. For example, embodiments of the invention may be useful with video games, file browsing, interactive navigation, communication systems, control systems, military systems, medical devices, and industrial applications. See our 2010 report for more patent illustrations. A second patent application that surfaced this morning titled "Integrated media jukebox and physiologic data handling application" demonstrates that Apple is still tweaking their Nike + iPod system which was granted yet another patent earlier this week.
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.
Apple has invented a very cool next-gen headphone design that could be operated in two modes. The first mode is the normal every day in-ear design that all headphones offer. The second mode is where the fun comes in. It will allow users to rest their headphones on a table or other surface and kick them into true speaker mode with a full amplifier so that they could share their music with others in any room or other social setting. What a fantastic idea! I'll definitely be first in line to buy these headphones.
The World Intellectual Property Office revealed late last week that Apple had filed for a patent to protect one of their latest inventions relating to an all-new iPhone carrying case that's made from a combination of fabric and a plurality of polymer-based films. Apple's process will also use unbelievably accurate lasers to imprint their logo onto the fabric case with consistent impeccable quality.
Many times in the past Steve Jobs had said that Apple had no interest in phones or tablets and thought that network computers were silly with this concept of data residing somewhere in a cloud in the sky. Everything that he said that Apple had no interest in eventually came to be. After Apple's special iPhone 5 event earlier this month, Phil Schiller tried to do the same thing in respect to wireless inductive charging. Was his "marketing speak" just another head-fake? Well, according to a new patent published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple's engineers never got the memo on Apple not being interested wireless inductive charging. In fact the crazy ones in Cupertino hit a home run with a winning in-depth inductive charging dock this time around. This design doesn't have a funny-funky pole like past designs. No, this one has some pretty interesting twists and will come with a handy user interface and much, much more.
Just last week Apple introduced their new 'EarPods' for iPhone 5. The day prior to Apple's Special Event, the US Patent Office cued up Apple's trademark filing but didn't publish it until after Apple's event. To finalize it all, we get to actually see Apple's patent application detailing their invention today. To top off today's report, we'll take a brief look at a few of the key iPhone 5 patents that were fulfilled last week.