On May 17, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their intention of reinventing the speakerphone system for iOS devices. Although not detailed, the fact is that the new speaker positioning could provide iOS devices with general superior sound, even when docked.
Since the summer of 2010 Patently Apple has been covering Apple's patent applications regarding a strong trend towards the development of a future MacBook with cellular-data capabilities. Just this past week, Patently Apple has discovered yet another new patent application on this subject in a filing that came to light in Europe earlier this year. This time around, Apple has brilliantly invented cellular antennas that could be integrated into a MacBook's Multi-Touch trackpad or directly into the display of an iOS device like an iPhone. That's important if Apple decides to design a future iPhone with a metal back. Now that the iPad offers 4G, the idea of the MacBook offering similar cellular-data capabilities sounds not only reasonable but inevitable.
There's been a lot of buzz over Apple's proposal for a future miniature SIM card. Competitors like Motorola, Research in Motion and Nokia are trying to stop it. The Financial Times stated in their recent report that "one person with knowledge of the committee" said that the "Apple-backed nano-SIM could require a "drawer" to protect it." Today, Apple has been granted their second patent regarding this proposed "drawer" concept and it's because the drawer or ejectable tray could accommodate not only a nano SIM but also an Integrated Circuit Card which is at the heart of Apple's iWallet. A variant of Apple's design could include a tray that accommodates both a Nano SIM card and an Integrated Circuit Card. So now you know a little more of the importance of the Nano SIM card story that Apple is proposing to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
In a Patent Flash Report that we posted last week partially titled "Will the iPhone ever be Waterproof?" – we covered Apple's system for creating a water seal involving the use of both a sealing tape such as DuPont's Kapton and a soldering paste. In today's newly published patent application, Apple reveals that they're working on waterproofing a key device component using silicone rubber as a sealant. The patent also reveals that their solutions could eventually extend on through to the iPad and even the MacBook. Apple isn't there yet, but their definitely working on ways of better protecting us against devastating water damage so that we could keep on working, surfing and enjoying our devices without unnecessary disruption.
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.
On February 16, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that revealed an all new binding protocol designed to allow users to automatically or manually bind attachments easily to a phone call or even a voicemail message. Additionally, the media could be transferred during or after the phone call. Another feature describes how sent photos, for example, could automatically be opened on the receiving end in a photo viewer or editing application. Today's report illustrates several interesting iPhone interface features associated with Apple's new binding protocol. This is an extremely practical patent, especially for social networking types wanting to share photos quickly and conveniently with their friends and those in the enterprise that need to exchange documents on the go with their office and/or clients.
Apple first introduced us to the Wild World of Coded Magnets in late January. Today, greater revelations are found in a new patent application form Apple published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. While Apple further discusses their technology relating to magnetic fasteners, they specifically reveal real-world applications for the iPad and iPhone. Moreover, Apple envisions their programmable magnets eventually working through to the sporting world via smart bikes, ski boots and snowboards. The energy surrounding Apple's smart magnet project is high and it's evidenced in their latest patent. In fact, the energy found in all of their programmable magnet patents thus far screams the message that they believe this is a breakthrough technology.
On January 12, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an exciting new 3D GUI for iOS mobile devices. The new UI will work with proximity sensor arrays and will respond to hovering gestures. The Crazy Ones in Cupertino have been working on advanced 3D GUIs for some time now. We first learned of a major 3D GUI project back in 2009 that involved using head tracking technology. Then in early 2010 we learned of Apple's first project relating to a 3D GUI for iOS devices. Later that year Apple 3D multifunctional widgets and over time revealed advanced 3D and hovering based gesturing for CAD users on an iPad. With twenty times the GPU power coming to iOS devices over the next year, Apple appears to paving the way for a new 3D GUI for mobile devices in the not-too-distant future. Update Saturday Jan 14, 2011, 2PM MST: We've added a video to the report.
On January 10, 2012, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-two newly granted patents for Apple Inc. This morning's patent report covers four of Apple's newly granted design patents covering such things as the MacBook Air and its Solid State Drive. Additionally, our report covers three important patents relating to Apple's original iPhone and associated smart cables. Since late December Apple has been on a roll chalking up original iPhone patents and today's patent wins continue that trend. Considering that there were over 200 patents on the books for protecting the iPhone on the very day that Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, I would suspect that this trend is going to continue for some time to come.
Make no mistake about it. As we move closer to a point in time when the iPhone could double as an iWallet, security will be the killer feature that consumers will demand. Two weeks ago Apple introduced us to one of their future security systems that will handle auto login using advanced facial recognition technology. That'll be great for iDevices not handling important documents and/or financial instruments such as debit and/or credit. For that, Apple has invented a heavy duty second tier of security that is quite ingenious. The key rests in splitting a user's password recovery secret amongst two devices that are never carried together at one time. And you know it's a serious security project at Apple when Bud Tribble, Apple's VP of Software Technology, is the man behind this endeavor.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of thirteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our last granted patent report of the day we primarily focus on one of Apple's original iPhone patents that relate to editing file or file folder lists easily. Other granted patents issued today cover the technology behind Apple's second generation iPod Shuffle and how the iPhone was redesigned after 2007 so that it could double as an external hard drive.
In our November 2011 report titled "Steve Jobs Secret Meeting to Explore an iPod Phone is Revealing," we covered how Steve Jobs set up two competing teams for creating a next generation tablet enabled smartphone. One team was focused on an iPod styled iPhone while the other was focused on an all-new tablet-centric design. Today we're able to explore a classic iPod styled smartphone patent that surfaced at the US Patent and Trademark Office. The newly granted patent covers the iPhone using call waiting and video conferencing. The date of the patent would strongly suggest that the technology pertained in this granted patent was really engineered for the iPhone as we know it today. It would also appear that Apple's desire to keep the iPhone design a secret until its introduction was paramount, and today's patent proves that out. By October 2006, Apple had the iPhone in hand – and so the patent filing with this dating would confirm that the iPod phone design presented in today's patent was merely a just-in-case cover up to mask the true design.
On December 22, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a pair of patent applications from Apple that reveal greater detailing of their next generation Fuel Cell project. The new fuel cells will one day power both iOS and OS X portable devices like the iPhone and MacBook for days, if not weeks at a time. In October we covered Apple's first patent on fuel cell technology in respect to fuel cell plates. Today's patents provide us with greater detail of their fuel cell technology project that even considers implementing MagSafe as a key connector for fuel cell recharging between an iOS device like the iPhone and a MacBook. The race is on to bring next generation fuel cell technology to future portable devices and it appears that Apple may be on the verge of a major breakthrough on this front.
On December 8, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published well over 40 patent applications from Apple in a single day. In our first report of the day, we focus on several patents that cover the advancement of audio quality in future iPhones. Specifically, the main patent covers an advanced noise suppression system that will be welcomed. Many times I've spoken to people calling me on their iPhone and sometimes I've been able to hear the person next to them speaking as clearly as I could hear them. That's not exactly the way it's supposed to work. Apple's newly proposed audio advancement system is likely to put that issue to rest while advancing iPhone audio quality overall. The last tidbit of information derived from this group of patents was rather a bit of a surprise. Apple revealed the use of a speakerphone feature on a future iPad - and that could be a new killer app in the making. While we could hope for this to roll out next year, we must always remember that technology revealed in a patent application could take more time to work through the system than we'd like. On the other hand, let's hope that Apple doesn't tease us with this for too long!
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of fifteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our third and final patent report of the day, we cover a number of new powerful iPhone related patents that Apple's legal team will no doubt be able to add to their growing arsenal. The first patent covers the iPhone being able to order and pay for items such as fast food over a wireless network. The second and third patents cover the very complex subject of signal processing algorithms forwireless MIMO communication systems. And lastly, we look at Apple's reinvention of the circuit board that discusses multi-part substrate assemblies that allow Apple to design ever thinner iOS devices.