On May 01, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new docking station concept that is designed to incorporate a more durable and self-retracting connector that can accommodate iDevices small and large.
In late March Patently Apple posted a report entitled "Facebook to buy Oculus for $2 Billion," where noted that Apple's acquisition of PrimeSense could advance Apple's previous work on a video headset. Today the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals that Apple has revisited their patent application regarding their video headset that could be a future Apple TV accessory or an Apple TV iDevice for those on the go; A nice spin-off product if you will. Coincidentally news surfaced late yesterday from KGI securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo is claiming that Apple will revamp their Apple TV device later this fall. It would be very cool timing if the Apple TV accessory would be ready at that time to create some major buzz in the industry. However, it's unclear if Apple is really committed to such an iDevice or accessory. It would be great for gaming and a way to get ahead of Oculus. But for now it's just an open question mark. In this report we also note that Apple has filed a continuation patent regarding their Shanghai Apple Store Building.
On April 3, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "System and Method of Detecting a User's Voice Activity using an Accelerometer." It appears that Apple is working to advance their EarPod with Remote and Mic headset so as to provide superior voice quality for phone calls in the future. Technically speaking, the new system will have a voice activity detector (VAD) system that uses signals from an accelerometer included in the earbuds of a headset with a microphone array to detect the user's speech and to steer at least one or more beamformers.
On March 27, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an all-new iPad smart cover configuration that includes a keyboard panel. One of the aspects of this design which differentiates itself from Microsoft's Surface tablet cover is that Apple's keyboard has been uniquely designed to double as a multi-touch gesture keyboard eliminating the need for a touchpad.
Last May Apple first introduced a new patent application for an iPhone and iPod dock designed to support their new lightning port. Today, the U.S. Patent Office published one of Apple's patent applications that reveal their possible new dock may also come equipped with a new flexible lightning connector base that is more durable and easier to use. Here's to hoping that Apple will be able to not only design this new dock but also get it out to market soon. Not everything has to take forever. Apple introduced their lighting port with the iPhone 5 back in 2012 and they should have had a new dock available at that time. Then again, perhaps Apple is still waiting to see how the European consumer protection committee will rule before committing to this product. Only time will tell. Update March 14, 2014: Europe Parliament rules for common charger using micro-USB.
On August 29, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new EarPod carrying case accessory. I don't know about you, but untangling my EarPod cable is always a dance I hate. Now Apple's lead accessory product designer Kurt Stiehl has come up with a solution for that.
On August 22, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of 20 original patent applications from Apple today excluding 12 continuation patents. In this report we cover four mildly interesting inventions. The first details Apple's lightning connector exhaustively. The second covers automating Apple's iPhone status sharing feature so users won't have to set it up in the future. A third patent covers a new injection molding system for creating parts for Apple iDevices faster and cost effectively. And lastly we link you to a new patent application covering technology relating to the next iPhone cellular standard that's in the works called LTE-Advanced.
In 2012 Apple's VP of software and iOS Scott Forstall announced that nine car companies had signed on to eyes-free Siri services with Hyundai signing on as the tenth in January. Then came Eddy Cue's announcement at this year's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) that "iOS in the Car" was going to be available in cars in calendar 2014, which translates to new 2015 models debuting in late Q3 and early Q4 2014. Apple appears to have the lead in one of the next battlefronts in the market: eyes-free digital services for the car. Patently Apple has discovered that Microsoft is also "eyeing" this market. A new patent filing published this week by the US Patent and Trademark Office revealed one of their projects for eyes-free services for the car, and our report will give you a peek at what they've got on the drawing board. Yet at the end of the day, Apple has made a firm announcement as to when iOS in the Car will be ready whereas Microsoft is still in the dream state with nothing concrete in sight.
On June 13, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an all-new kind of tablet cover. The patent filing is deadly focused on the make-up and process in creating the cover using various materials with non-radio portions so as not to interfere with the tablet's various radios. Considering that Apple's original Smart Cover was introduced in early 2011 and that this new filing was only filed in December 2012, it's pretty clear that Ive's Industrial Design Team have something completely new in mind. Could it be a new iBooks centric design? Only time will tell.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 37 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover one of Apple's gaming accessory inventions that cover a gamepad and joystick. Virtual gaming controllers just don't have that tactile touch that is needed to assist gamers so that they could keep their eyes focued on the game rather than on where the controls are. Even the new PS4 and Xbox controllers debuting this year have stuck with physical buttons and joysticks because that's what players need at the moment until haptics could get to a point where physical buttons could be eliminated. Apple's patent covers attachable game controller accessories that could simply stick to the touchscreen surface of a roomy iPad display to give the gamer more control over their games. It also assists developers to have a common gamepad/joystick structure so that more games could follow a specific guideline for controller activity.UPDATED JUNE 14, 2013
In April of this year we posted a report titled "Apple Electro-Optical Connector Patents Surface that may Point to "Lightning's" Road Map," which was Apple's most up to date patent on their new lightning connector technology. Today, two older 2011 Lightning related patents surfaced as continuation patents which basically means that in all likelihood Apple simply updated their 2011 patent claims and no more. However, if you've never viewed these patents, they do provide those interested in the technology behind Lightning with some real meat to sink their teeth into. One surprise that we noted is that Apple clearly indicates that a Lightning centric dock could be on tap in the future.
During Apple's financial conference on Tuesday afternoon, Apple's CEO Tim Cook stated that Apple had new categories of products in the pipeline for the end of the year and throughout 2014. It was three years ago to date that Apple first hinted at a gaming console and controller. Well today, one of Apple's published patent filings revealed new pivoting buttons that may be coming to future iDevices. The exciting aspect to this is that there are two specific example button designs for a game controller that they have in mind. The first gaming button is noted in our cover graphic above while the second gaming button is presented in our report. The designs are about the buttons and not the look of a full game controller. This is the first big hint that Apple may be closer than we think to a gaming console or at least a game controller for a gaming version of Apple TV. I love video gaming and this news put a smile on my face. Come on Tim – get it out the door for Christmas. We're all cheering you on.
On April 18, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of patents relating to next generation audio and data connectors. Apple has already begun to move to more modern efficient connectors like "Lightning" for the iPhone 5. Apple's patent delves into future versions of connectors that could eventually replace the traditional iDevice audio connector that employs traditionally rounded TRS connector jacks with something flatter and possibly shallower as noted in our cover graphic. Apple's proposed data connectors are being designed to address USB 4.0, DVI, Display Port and HDMI and work with everything from the Mac to an iPhone and right through to possible future devices such as a gaming system and a holographic projector, states Apple. Our report also touches on two Apple patents covering new spring loaded connectors that won't overheat.
On April 11, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a couple of patent applications from Apple that relate to optical and optical hybrid device connectors. The latter is described as an electro-optical connector. Apple's main engineer behind this latest connector is the very same engineer who was behind Apple's "All-New Hybrid DisplayPort/USB 3.0 Connector" patent which was granted to Apple exactly two years ago. This guy eats and sleeps all things connector related and the patent illustrates his passion for this intricate world of connectors. But at the end of the day much of the patent is really about explaining the technology that's behind Apple's new Lightning connector and perhaps its road map of development which includes an eventual move to a next generation lightning connector based dock.