On November 17, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their latest invention pertaining to a new intelligent multi-output adapter. The proposed adapter is to include a relay for intelligently controlling power and connector cords configured to supply differing voltages to two or more electronic devices simultaneously.
On October 20, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their work on optical transmitting cables, connectors and adapters. I first thought that the patent was simply describing Thunderbolt until I saw the illustrations as you could see above. They have nothing to do with Thunderbolt. These kinds of cables are usually used with HDTV's and other home electronics. While optical cables are interesting and I'm sure that they'll likely work with a future iteration of Apple TV – I wonder what else Apple may have in mind. Interestingly, the patent graphics make it appear as if the product is in its final stages of design. If you have any specific ideas as to where Apple could use such cables, beyond what is presented in the patent application, make sure to send in your comments.
On August 25, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a wild new concept relating to privacy glasses. While the new specs will be applauded by both professionals and multi-player-gamers alike – gamers may get the added thrill of tapping into the specs' 3D capabilities. While we covered Apple's initial patent regarding privacy-mode viewing in May of this year, it appears as though this project has taken on dramatic new twists. As computer users shift more towards using mobile devices like iPads and MacBooks as their primary devices, and use them more and more in public spaces, privacy-viewing is going to be an essential feature for all future mobile devices. Apple is out to be first and more importantly, the best in delivering this essential new feature and/or accessory.
On August 11, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a grand patent application from Apple that reveals their plans of integrating mini or pico-like projectors into future iOS devices while introducing a likely projector accessory for MacBooks. Apple has been working on this idea for some years now. In June 2009 Apple first hinted that they would one day integrate a projector system into iOS devices. In March 2010 Apple's broad patent application came to light concerning networked projection systems and later in April 2010 we learned that Apple's research teams had begun working on integrating a projector into a MacBook. Today's incredibly detailed patent application reveals how they're working on pico-like projectors for iOS devices and how these projectors will work with a shared workspace in presentations. Apple's patent even details how they'll introduce advanced gesturing that will be able to interpret shadow and silhouette gesturing associated with presentations in a darkened environment. The level of detail associated with this patent would suggest that Apple's development teams are moving full steam ahead on the projection system project which will further push the likes of Apple's iPad into the enterprise.
On August 4, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals two specific concepts of an "Inductive Charging System" for use with iOS devices. The first concept involves an oddly designed charging tower. Apple envisions a user wrapping their earphone cables around this charging tower and placing a new conductive metal mesh earphone on the media device to begin the charging process. The second system, which seems to be a little more practical, involves an acoustic charging mechanism which wouldn't require a charging tower. Instead of creating separate inductive chargers for various media players and tablets as others have done, Apple is trying to create a single inductive charger that would fit the needs of multiple devices.
Late last week the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that revealed yet another take on a possible future virtual keyboard for the iMac and other devices. Apple's first major patent concerning larger virtual keyboards surfaced in 2009. Then in 2011a wave of major virtual keyboard patents surfaced that illustrated the depth of Apple's research in this area. In early January Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple gets closer to a Virtual Keyboard for the iMac," and later that month we posted a second report titled "Apple Pushes Research into Motion Keyboards for MacBooks." In May, Apple disclosed the invention of an "Advanced Air Feedback System" and last week Apple revealed their fifth major effort into keyless keyboards by disclosing their new piezo-based acoustic and capacitive detection system which includes a very cool glass based keyboard concept that may be a winner.
There was a series of Apple iPad design patents that surfaced in September, October and November 2010 that clearly hinted that future iPads could very well sport an added landscape connector port. The problem with design patents is that they lack any meaningful detailing that could either confirm or deny oddities found on the design illustrations. Some argued at the time that the so-called landscape port wasn't that at all. Well, the good news has finally arrived in the form of a newly detailed patent application published this week that basically spelled out Apple's position on this feature and even provided us with a little surprise that our report reveals. A second patent application published this week describes a new iPad docking station that could provide sturdier support for iOS devices in the future.
On June 30, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for docking stations. Apple's current docking solutions are primarily restricted to iOS devices and are basically passive in nature. Today's patent application reveals Apple's intentions of expanding docking solutions to the MacBook while introducing us to the smart-dock. This next generation docking station will be location-smart or location-aware. For example, the proposed dynamic docking station could automatically be set to work with your living room devices such as your HDTV and/or stereo and then switch its configuration to work with other peripherals when you transport it to your office, car or elsewhere.
Apple filed their "Apple" trademark in China this week which we noted as carrying an interesting twist. We noticed that Apple had, for the first time, emphasized fashion accessories and precious metals for jewelry, a watch and more in association with their brand name in a very succinct way. That just happens to fall in nicely with a new Apple patent application that was published this morning by USPTO that specifically points to using a next generation iPod nano as a fashion accessory. The unique aspect of this accessory is that it will implement a wild new dynamic screen saver system that could sense the environment it is in and in a chameleon-like fashion automatically change the screen saver accordingly. The patent even indirectly hints at a camera returning to the iPod nano which would support several on-going rumors.
This appears to be the year of the keyboard. Apple began the year working on several keyboard projects including one involving a leap to a next generation virtual keyboard system for desktops while working on a secondary parallel bridging keyboard project that involved implementing a hybrid keyboard using advanced motion tracking. In Apple's latest keyboard project, which was published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office, we see a more practical approach to advancing keyboards in the shorter scheme of things by using advanced sensors and a unique air-based feedback system primarily for Mac keyboards. In the longer scheme of things, Apple is actually eyeing the concept of using deformable keyboard systems.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of eight newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second granted patent report of the day we have a real surprise. Apple has just won a patent for an all-new Hybrid DisplayPort/USB 3.0 high speed connector. This new and extremely slim connector will work on all iOS devices like the iPod and eventually work its way through Apple's entire hardware lineup. Apple has just introduced another high-speed connector called Thunderbolt and we know that they're also working on a new fiber optic based connector for the future. Yet this latest hybrid connector looks like a winner and one that we might see come to market later this year in handhelds or in 2012 when Intel Macs debut with USB 3.0. But let's be honest here: Wouldn't we all like to see this debut on the iPhone 5? Hmm, I think that I'm hearing a thunderous yes on that question.
In January of this year we posted a report titled "Apple Considers Integrating a Display into their Magic Mouse." This idea has once again surfaced in a new Apple patent that the US Patent Office published today titled "Incorporating Chromatic Sensors in Computer Mice." The first half of the patent discusses how the Magic Mouse will be able to improve performance when used on highly reflective surfaces such as glass, while the second half of the patent discusses how they'll be able to implement chromatic sensors so as to turn the Magic Mouse into a handheld scanner. This is a really great idea that I hope will come to market instead of being placed into File 13.
In January of this year, Apple won their first solar device related patent. That particular patent presented methods of adding solar power into the power mix of portables via a voltage converter within the device. Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office published a new Apple patent relating to a new power adapter that could utilize solar energy along with other conveniences. Although this could take a little time to come to market, Apple's fifth solar related patent is at least confirming that their R&D teams are prioritizing this green-project.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 20 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our first report of the day, we look at several minor patents including a design win for the Mac Mini that was issued to Apple in China along with Apple's iPhone and iPad antenna system. Yet the most important patent in this first group goes to a series of newly advanced inductive charging docking stations that have never seen the light of day. With HP's TouchPad coming to market this summer with cool wireless charging capabilities, Apple needs to get these patented docks to market before HP scores a major point with consumers this fall.
Apple loves Industrial design and that's evident in their string of creative breakthroughs for products such as the iPod, iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, iMac and MacBook Air. Furthermore, they're fanatical passion for detail ventures into every facet of design from their stunningly crafted iPhone which includes advanced nitriding stainless steel and exotic materials like Liquid Metal right through to their New York store's insanely inspiring glass architecture and their other distinctive mall outlets. Every facet of an Apple product is considered for redesign at some point in time, and today we learn that Apple is considering the use a new flat cabling system that could end our tangled-wire blues and perhaps even prevent nasty power surges.