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.
Although some may say that Apple should have introduced their new "Lightning" connector with the updated MacBook Pro lineup that debuted in June so as to ensure that the new standard was on all new 2012 hardware by Christmas, the fact remains that it debuted during yesterday's iPhone-5 special event. One of the key points that Apple listed in their new marketing graphic above is that the new Lightning cabling is durable. Two new patent applications published today by at the US Patent Office cover the topic of cable durability with one detailing cables using metal-doped fibers. According to Apple, "This allows for a much more flexible cable and increased cable flex life because the metal-doped fibers are not as sensitive to bending fatigue as their all metal counterparts."
On August 2, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a mind boggling patent application from Apple that reveals features that they're considering for their next generation Smart Cover. This is obviously a master patent that could play out in several stages and/or in different Smart Cover configurations depending on the user's priorities. Apple's future Smart Cover could include interactive Multi-Touch panels or a secondary display and/or other features that include the use of solar panels, inductive charging, smart pen input and believe it or not, much more.
Over the years, Apple has dreamt up a revolutionary styled docking station, some smart docks, docks based on straight forward inductive charging methods and some with loopy inductive charging methods and yet we still have Apple's plain old boring dock. But it seems that Apple isn't done just yet with designing new docks and today we see that their design team went over the edge with a dozen or more docking systems. And this time around, most of them involve mating a power-clip to a docking station that could also end up being your MacBook or iMac. One of these designs may end up making it to market one of these days or they'll all simply end up in Jony Ive's toy box to rust with all of the other rejected ideas. C'mon Jony – pick a new docking system and get on with it already.
On July 12, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new iPhone case accessory that will come with a built-in noise windscreen. This may sound like a minor feature but it will be greatly appreciated by consumers of older iPhones. On a personal note, my wife phones me after work at a downtown location every day on her 3G iPhone. Almost every day I tell her that I hear the people talking around her louder than her own voice. It's one of the reasons that I've held back on buying an iPhone for myself. Yes, it's that annoying. So while this patent may be for an iPhone accessory case today, it may also indicate that this will become a standard iPhone feature in the future. One could only hope.
Earlier this week, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a very special granted patent of Apple's relating to a Head Mounted Display system. The Los Angeles Time mistakenly reported that "Apple may be taking a page out of Google's book." No, no, no. Apple's patent predates the iPhone while Google's patent is shown to have been filed be in 2011. So if anything, it's Google taking a page out of Apple's book, again. Admittedly, Google's vision for video glasses does in fact appear to be far more aggressive than Apple's humble aspirations, but it may be more realistic. Apple's main focus is connecting the headset to an iDevice in order to watch movies. Its secondary focus is shown to be working with telephony and the internet. Yet considering that the patent was actually filed prior to the iPhone debuting, the idea was way ahead of its time. Apple's patent presents us with a grand overview of the optical options that they're considering for this device and hints that it'll be mainly aimed at consumer entertainment and gaming.
Beyond the major patent applications that we covered earlier today, there are a few minor patent applications worth noting. The first one covers a new iOS device earphone speaker system for enlarging the effective volume of a speaker using a unique blend of gas and air. The second one covers new and improved Apple Store retail packaging. In a third patent application, Apple reveals that they could be adding a "radiation absorber" to a future iPhone. According to Apple, "By virtue of its radiation absorption characteristics … the absorber may help prevent stray radiation from the emitter that may have been internally reflected." Well, well, isn't that nice to know? And one last thing: one of Apple's engineers who worked on the last patent, briefly points to alternative iPhone design features that are basically passé to begin with. The question becomes, why were these features even being discussed in the first place?
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-one newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The most surprising one of them all is one that snuck through the patent system until today. The newly granted patent, which has never been seen before, reveals a wireless remote control for a vehicle's steering wheel. At a time when local and federal laws are being drafted to enforce "hands free" operation of smartphones and other devices in vehicles, Apple's invention comes to the rescue to provide their customers with a sound solution. The design borrows from Apple's iPod clickwheel but with a new touch-sensitive design. Interesting enough is that one of the engineers working on this project was a principal designer at California's famous Frog Design.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of seventeen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our first report of the day we covered a design win for Apple's Shanghai Store. In our second report of the day we focus entirely on Apple's first coded magnet patent win as it relates to their iPad Smart Cover. Apple officially introduced the iPad Smart Cover a year ago and the first patent about the iPad Smart Cover surfaced in December 2011. Kicking off 2012 we were able to view Apple's dramatic overview of their coded magnet technology which provided us with a peak of what could be in the pipeline for this promising technology. While Apple has received their first coded magnet patent today, it certainly won't be their last.
While we never found Apple's flying car patent that we keep hearing about, we did discover a tiny eclectic mix of practical patent applications worth noting. If appears that Apple may have at least two app upgrades in the works for iPod + Nike and Cards. Additionally, Apple may have a new Apple TV centric app that will allow us to nicely display our home movies, photos and digital post cards on. And lastly, Apple has invented a new way of wirelessly connecting iOS devices to modern car stereos and other accessories. If we're lucky, some of these ideas should be make their way to us in the not too-distant future.
Three new patent applications from Apple were published this morning by the USPTO that detail various aspects of Apple's revolutionary I/O technology called Thunderbolt. Apple filed many Thunderbolt trademarks in 2011 which opened the question as to who really owned the trademark and technology. The general line of thinking in the market today is that Thunderbolt was developed by Intel and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple Inc. Yet beyond filing several Thunderbolt trademarks, today's multiple detailed patents from Apple would strongly suggest that they're attempting to secure Thunderbolt related patents. This of course would fly in the face of Apple's involvement in the development of Thunderbolt as being limited to "technical collaboration." The good news that emerged from these patents is that Apple is focused on bringing Thunderbolt to iOS devices in the future so as to provide faster data transfers and more importantly, faster recharging.
Sneaky Apple originally filed their Smart Cover product patent in Canada one year ago this month. It has only recently come to light for public viewing. The credit for the Smart Cover actually goes to Jony Ive's team of designers and engineers. While surprising, it only makes sense. The precision and coherence of the design could have only come from a detailed professional like Jony Ive. Although most of us know what the Smart Cover is, the patent actually surprised me with two new scenarios for using the Smart Cover. Neither had ever even crossed my mind. Those, along with a few other insightful twists, made the discovery of this Smart Cover patent in Canada all the sweeter.
Apple's design and engineering teams have come up with a new way of creating and manufacturing backlit keyboards using a variety of lasers including ultraviolet laser, a green laser, a YAG laser and others depending on the desired size and shape of the graphic that Apple is trying to achieve. The process of creating the right effect will also employ the use of exotic paints such as titanium dioxide-loaded paint, a latex-based paint, a rubber-based paint, a plastic paint, and so on. While Apple illustrates that the new backlit etchings could be used in creating a future desktop keyboard, they also make it clear that the process could be used to create designs, logos, borders and more on iOS devices, televisions, mice, home electronics and far beyond. I'm sure that this process could be used in creating a very cool TV remote – but that's a story for another day.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-three newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second and final granted patent report of the day we focus in on Apple's second Magic Mouse patent victory and their sixth win towards their future Telephonic MacBook. In our June 2011 report covering Intel's IDF titled "Intel, Apple & the Transformation of the PC," we covered Intel's focus on their all new Ultrabook PC category. One of the key attributes coming to Ultrabooks appeared in their slides relating to phase-two and three of their Ultrabook architecture; these next generation Ultrabooks would always be on and always be connected. Obviously Intel is planning to integrate 4G into their Ultrabooks in the not-too-distant future and this is why the Telephonic MacBook will be a reality. It's not a matter of if but rather when.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 17 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second patent report of the day we focus on a possible next generation docking station from Apple that will include accessory power management. As portables get more powerful, Apple foresees the need for a dock that will be able to manage power more intelligently so that it could power-up larger and more powerful devices safely. As a side note, Apple's patent mysteriously states that the new dock will be able to power up a monitor. That could mean anything ranging from a portable presentation system to that of a TV. Time will tell what Apple has up their sleeve on that particular point; though I must confess that it sounds most inviting.