On January 15, 2015, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a possible next-generation multi-functional iDevice Home Button. In the first mode, the Home Button retains its standard functionality. In the second mode, the Home Button transforms into a pure gaming joystick. The transition from one mode to the other is rather simple through a pressure sensor. This looks like it could be serious fun for gamers in the future.
Over the years of covering Apple's patent applications we've learnt that in many instances Apple has different teams working on a single problem from different angles in order to find the right solution prior to bringing it to market. Last March we posted a patent report titled "Apple Invents Unique Protective Mechanisms for Future Devices." Then last October we posted another report on this subject titled "Apple Advances their Device Free Fall Protection Invention." Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals how this project is progressing in interesting new areas. Today's invention introduces us to drop countermeasures that could be added to future versions of Apple's iPad Smart Cover and Smart Case to shield the iPad from damage to vital components or its display when accidentally dropped. Apple also discusses new drop countermeasures designed for the iPhone.
On July 10, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals Apple's intent to reduce the number of openings at the bottom of an iPhone. The focus of this invention is to reinvent the audio jack port so that when a user isn't using the audio jack port, audio can be sent through that same port instead of a dedicated speaker. The new combination port may support a lightning connector.
On July 3, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that describes an invention related to audio and more specifically to a magnetically biased electromagnet for audio applications. While Apple's invention will be appealing to true audiophiles who will appreciate Apple's determination to bring high-fidelity sound to ever smaller mobile devices, it's the side effects of this invention that may be the real news here. Imagine Jony Ive creating a future iPhone that didn't have to include external audio grilles. Imagine an iPhone that eliminated that design distraction. Considering that Apple may eliminate the headphone jack in future iPhones as well, iPhone designs are headed for cleaner, slicker form factors. In fact, Apple has already provided us with several examples of possible future design form factors for the iPhone that indeed eliminate both audio grilles and the headphone jack as seen here and here. The other side benefit of eliminating both the audio grilles and headphone jack as it allows Apple to design an iPhone that is waterproof, a point that Apple clearly makes in their current patent application.
On June 19, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a futuristically advanced iPhone feature and capability. In the future, Apple's iPhone may be able to project an emulated keyboard, keypad, mouse, trackpad, or a game controller onto a table top surface and more.
On March 02 we posted a report titled "Samsung Invents Workaround to Apple's Pinch-to-Zoom Patent." In that report we presented Samsung's proposed single movement gesture that would replace the traditional two-finger pinch-to-zoom feature that they copied from Apple. Samsung was found guilty of patent infringement on that very feature, as we noted in last week's report. Today, we discovered a new Apple patent that was published in Europe on Thursday that introduces us to a new single-gesture as well. The gesture will be able to perform zooming functions as well as other commands for those wanting to operate their iPhones using only one hand.
On March 6, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Wi-Fi Credential Sharing using Images." Setting up your iDevices to a new wireless network at coffee shops or other entertainment hubs is time consuming. Wouldn't it be nice to just tell Siri to set it up for you and be done with it? Well, Apple's invention covers just that and more.
This morning Patently Apple discovered a killer patent application from Apple that was published in Europe. Apple's killer invention describes flexible wraparound displays for a possible future iPhone and/or other devices. The patent describes sapphire and transparent displays used in a form factor created by an alumina powder liquid-metal process. Apple further describes some very interesting applications taking advantage of this kind of continuous wraparound display that could be ideal for a future wristband computer that we reported on earlier this year. Without a doubt, this patent application is one of the best of the year – so check it out.
On October 22, 2013, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published another killer Steve Jobs patent regarding the iPhone that Apple is likely to use in future litigation. One of the key patents regarding the iPhone that Samsung and Google have tried to invalidate at all costs was reaffirmed by the US Patent Office last week. The patent was known as the "Steve Jobs patent." Patent specialist and blogger Florian Mueller made it known that last week's patent reaffirmation represented a major victory for Apple and the beginning of a massive uphill battle for Samsung. Today, Apple was granted a secondary major "Steve Jobs patent" that builds on the first patent by covering a "Graphical User Interface" and more. If last week's reaffirmed patent was considered a major victory for Apple against Samsung, then the second one is bound to pound Samsung o the mat even faster.
On October 17, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals improved technology coming to future iPhones that will further their support for Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) which began with the iPhone 4.
On October 17, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals more details behind Apple's new Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Apple reveals that they added a method to the sensor that would allow it to scan a fingerprint at a much higher resolution than other sensors on the market without electrically shocking the finger. Apple also notes that their Touch ID technology could eventually apply to an iPad, MacBook and beyond. Technically speaking, Apple's patent relates to circuits that may be used to support fingerprint sensing, including boost circuits, such as inductive boost circuits.
When Apple revealed the iPhone 5 last year, many were confused as to why Apple didn't include NFC technology. Apple's VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller stated at the time that it wasn't clear that NFC was the solution to any current problem. That was a nice misdirection Phil, really. Because as Phil was saying that, Apple had already filed for a wild fingerprint sensor/NFC patent that he was fully aware of. Patently Apple discovered this new patent application in Europe yesterday. The patent filing details an incredible fingerprint scanner with advanced integrated NFC circuitry that will deliver features that no one saw coming! When Phil Schiller gave the Mac faithful a peek at the coming Mac Pro tower this fall, he blurted out: Apple "can't innovate anymore – My Ass!" Well, it appears that Apple may show the world a little more innovation Apple-style next week when they unveil the iPhone 5S. It may even include a newly designed Home Button with an integrated fingerprint scanner and much more. Report Updated 2:30 PM PST. Report Updated September 09, 2013, 6 PM MST