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Apple Wins Crucial iPhone Cryptography Patent

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The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of six newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The one patent that stood out by far, was one relating to the cryptography technology behind Apple's iPhone. Apple's new iPhone OS 3.0 now allows iPhone and iPod touch owners to order movies, music videos, television shows and more over cellular or Wi-Fi networks. Apple's cryptography technology ensures that user transactions are made securely. It was noted that two out of three of the engineers credited on this patent were from out of State which could mean that Apple acquired parts of this technology in order to quicken the iPhone's security features to market. Other patents revealed today included an industrial design win for Apple's Universal Dock and a patent relating to subtractive computer display technology.  

Apple's iPhone Cryptography Technology


Apple's granted patent generally relates to cryptography and in particular to the generation of secure random numbers for use in cryptographic systems found in smaller form factor devices such as the iPhone and iPod touch.


Since the advent of public-key cryptography, numerous public-key cryptographic systems have been proposed. Today, only three types of systems are still considered secure and efficient. These systems include integer factorization systems, discrete logarithm systems and elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) systems.


Cryptographic systems, and particularly stream ciphers, often use pseudorandom number generators to provide sequences of random numbers. The pseudorandom number generator often is initialized in an arbitrary state of a repeating sequence of states (i.e., a cycle) as some function of a keyword or key phrase. Thus, an arbitrary initialization of a pseudorandom sequence may result in a short cycle or pattern of different output values that could repeat during a long message or session. These repeated patterns make pseudorandom number generators vulnerable to automated attacks. To prevent patterns from occurring, longer sequences (large k values) can be used. However, for devices having small form factors (e.g., media players, mobile phones, etc.), power and memory constraints limit the length of the random number sequences that can be generated, resulting in an increased risk that detectable patterns will be generated.


Apple's patent presents us with a system; method and apparatus for providing random numbers of cryptographic strength that are suitable for use in cryptographic systems for small devices.


Apple's patent FIG. 2 shown below illustrates a block diagram of an entropy accumulator embodiment. Those interested in Apple's cryptography solution will read about Apple's Entropy Accumulator System, Chaos Generator Process Flows, a Signature Signing and Verification System and a Curve Parameter Structure.




Apple credits Richard Crandall, Douglas Mitchell, Scott Krueger and, Guy Tribble for granted patent 7,587,047 for Chaos Generator for Accumulation of Stream Entropy - originally filed in June 2005. Contrary to modern mythology, the Chaos Generator is not a villainous tool to bring down Gotham City – Ha!


Granted Patent: Subtractive Display


Apple's granted patent generally relates to display devices, and more particularly to subtractive color mixing displays. Apple's patent FIG. 2 shown below (click to enlarge) is an illustrative diagram of a pixel-generating structure for producing an essentially full range of the visible spectrum.




Conventional color display devices, such as computer monitors and television sets, use an additive color mixing process which typically includes thousands of individual pixels. Different proportional combinations of red, green, and blue components can be used to produce a wide range of colors. In an RGB display, each pixel includes three adjacent sub-pixels--one red sub-pixel, one green sub-pixel, and one blue sub-pixel. Printers on the other hand generally produce colors through a subtractive color mixing principle. In particular, varying amounts of different tinted inks are applied to a sheet of white paper in layers. A typical color printer, for example, includes cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK) inks.


Because of the different mixing principles used in additive RGB display devices and subtractive CMYK printers, it is necessary to perform conversions between parameters of color mixing models associated with such display devices and printers. Apple's patent presents various remedies to the conversion process. For full details of this patent, feed number 7,586,472 into the search engine link below.


Apple credits Gabriel Marcu and Wei Chen for this granted patent which was originally filed for in July 2005.

NOTICE: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or grant is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or grant should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on today's patent(s), simply feed the individual patent number(s) noted above into this search engine.


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