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January 2010

Apple's Magic Mouse Wins Design in Europe

Apple Wins Design for Magic Mouse in Europe 
The European Trademark Office, referred to officially as the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, has published five sequences of registered designs under 001185821-0001 to 0005 for Apple's Magic Mouse. The application was filed for in Germany in December 2009 with Apple's Andre K. Bartley acknowledged as the designer. The registered designs were officially published in Europe on Tuesday January 26, 2010.  


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Apple's iPad: Welcome to the Revolution

1 - Apple - iPad - Welcome to the Revolution - Cover 2 

On January 18, 2010, Patently Apple began a miniseries titled "Apple: The Tablet Prophecies" that primarily focused on presenting Apple's known tablet-centric patents to the public prior to the tablet's debut.  Yesterday, many of Apple's patents leapt off their dusty pages right into the heart of the iPad, Apple's revolutionary ebook and productivity device. It was a thrilling ride for most who witnessed the features of Apple's iPad unfold before their eyes: Especially those who have faithfully followed Apple's weekly published patents over the years. Some of the patents fulfilled dated back to 2005, while others only weeks ago. This report takes a quick look back at some of the patents that are no doubt directly linked to Apple's iPad while pointing out the fact that Apple's iPad marks the beginning of something much bigger. In my view, we were all witnesses to the birth of the NC Revolution.

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Apple's iPod Touch to Gain Video Camera and LED Backlighting

IPod touch to gain video camera - Cover 

On January 28, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's iPod Touch. The patent covers both the iPod touch and iPhone gaining a video camera. Being that the iPhone 3G-S now has that built-in, it's obvious that Apple's iPod touch is next in line.  A secondary patent of interest relates to the iPod touch gaining an LED backlight display sometime in the future.



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Bloomberg: Apple, "Almost like a Terrorist Organization"

In a Bloomberg Television news segment that aired yesterday called "Apple's Code of Silence," they interviewed former Apple senior systems engineer Edward Eigerman who was fired at some point in time for "violating the intellectual property rules at Apple" prior to an Apple product release. Eigerman discussed the internal security measures at Apple with Bloomberg's Matt Miller and Deirdre Bolton. The over-the-top interview remark and question made by Deirdre Bolton, noted at the 1:08 mark of this video, is noted as follows: "There are some journalists who have described working there after speaking with people who have left, that it's almost like a Terrorist organization. I hate to say it that way, but it's like these small cells where secrecy as you mentioned there's to be no overlap between products or between knowledge. What does that do for the company – or to the company?" Whether it was Deirdre Bolton or Bloomberg's editorial staff who crafted this description is irrelevant. Apple is one of America's most respected technology companies and Steve Jobs one of the most respected CEO's in American history. Their question, especially out of their New York Office, comparing Apple to a terrorist organization was completely unprofessional and out of line. For the sake of ratings, this professional news organization has stooped to the lowest levels of journalism. On the eve of Apple announcing a revolutionary new product, Bloomberg decided to be on the stupid side of history. What a sad day for journalism. They could always pretend to hide behind their twist that "some journalists" were the source, but Bloomberg knew full well what they were doing here in posing that question for the sake of cheap sensationalism. That was an uncalled for sucker punch, in my view, and one that they should own up to and apologize for. – That's my opinion for January 27, 2010.

Operation Apple: What will they Call their Tablet?


My favorite television drama show, ever, is 24 – bar none. Once a new season begins, it has me hook, line and sinker. It's a drama that's over in the blink of an eye leaving you stranded until the next nail biting episode airs the following week. Well, for Apple fans, the drama leading up to tomorrow's event has been the same. Patently Apple posted a three part series called Apple: The Tablet Prophecies last week and there's been excellent wall-to-wall news coverage from other Mac sites, including rumors - to entertain everyone. The drama will end in about 24 hours and "Operation Apple" will be revealed. This report is really a follow through on a series of reports about possible brand names for Apple's coming tablet. As many already know, it's really been a passion, if not a crusade of MacRumors - to find Apple's possible branding of the tablet. Patently Apple has pointed to MacRumors TabletMac report and added a few details of interest. AppleInsider provided us with an overview of the rumors this past December and in this report – we're going to confirm some of these facts that have shown up in the Canadian Trademark Office. There appears to be at least one distinct connection between Apple's own "Message Pad" filing and the three rumored candidates that indirectly point to Apple. At the end of the day, it may not matter one iota if Apple has chosen to brand their tablet with something altogether different. Yet until such time, take a moment to review the coverage that these three rumored names hold and perhaps it'll spark you to add what you think Apple will call the tablet tomorrow.

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Apple Wins iChat and Major Tablet Patent Prior to Launch

Cover, Major Tablet Related Patent Granted 

The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 13 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Without a doubt the granted patent that screams out this morning is one that relates to Apple's forthcoming Tablet. The focus of the patent is on the tablet's proximity detection capabilities. The timing is unbelievable yet crucial in protecting Apple's new technology for larger tablets. Other granted patent notables include a color management system and a crucial patent relating to Apple's iChat.    

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Apple iPhone to Gain Social Networking & Public Transit Apps

1 - cover - Geolocation - transit app 
An interesting Apple patent surfaced last week that had me take a second look. The patent generally relates to provisioning mobile devices with information and services pertaining to a location. While this patent confirms that location based technology could be used to send out ads to iPhone users, the fact is that this patent provides us with some interesting twists. A new architecture will offer differing databases relating to points-of-interest (think restaurants, night clubs, theaters, etc) and social networking via a shared-interest database - so that you and your friends could plan a night out by coordinating information. Another key focus of this patent relates to Apple's iPhone offering a very handy Transit System Interface covering busses, light rails, trolleys, cable cars, or other types of conveyance available for public use. The system would be able to send out timing alerts to users based on current public transit schedule information, current locations of public transit vehicles on one or more routes and so forth. The location-aware iPhone will use triangulation information via GPS signals. Whether for city transit or inner city parking, the service will double as a vehicle for Apple's new Quattro Wireless ad services  

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Apple Files Trademark for QuickTime Logo


Apple's cross-platform media QuickTime media-plaftorm has a rock-solid foundation that is trusted to offer a host of innovative features that create the most cutting edge multimedia experiences in the industry. QuickTime is about HD Video, AAC Audio, media streaming and immersive 3D QTVR photographic experiences. Most importantly, QuickTime is about entertainment. Apple's QuickTime is even likely to introduce something new in respect to their coming tablet. Apple filed for their updated logo this past week with the USPTO. The new logo was first revealed publicly during WWDC in July 2009. The graphic above illustrates the old logo on the left and new on the right. 

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Apple's iMac Touch Technology Surfaces in Patent

IMac Touch Technology, Cover 

This week, news broke that a 22" iMac Touch is scheduled for late 2010. Although it's only a rumor at this point in time, the fact is that a 2008 Apple patent supports that marketing direction for the iMac.  To add a fuel to that fire, a segment of a new touch display technology patent that surfaced on Thursday further illustrated Apple's commitment to this project. The new touch technology employs several new sensors including laser vibrometers and micro-machined accelerometers. The twist to this is that it could be an iMac Touch or an iMac-like dock for a future Apple tablet. This is explained in more detail in this week's article titled Tablet Prophecies – Future Twist.  Whether we end up with an iMac Touch or a Touch Screen Tablet Dock, the fact is that it opens the door to some very interesting applications for consumers.

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Apple Patent Details Advanced Light & Laser Pens for Tablets

 1 Cover light pen 
Are you still a Doubting Thomas when it comes to Apple's intentions of eventually introducing a stylus to the iPhone or future tablets? Well, perhaps you should rethink that position. It appears by this current patent that surfaced yesterday, that Apple is seriously thinking of reinventing the stylus by introducing us to an advanced Light Pen or even a Laser Light, states the patent. Just a few weeks back there was another very sophisticated touch screen patent that touched on future touchscreens for the iPhone and future MacBook Tablet. Today's patent is equally sophisticated. This patent introduces us to a futuristic light pen that has a cylindrical tubular tip that is both extendable and retractable when pressed against the touch display. It also discusses a light emitting diode that provides a beam of light that is channeled through an optical path. This capability, states the patent, is particular useful for pressure sensitive applications, such as Photoshop by Adobe. As noted in the illustration, the light pen appears to be tethered to the device in some way. The patent doesn't explain if the wire from the pen is retractable in some way or if it's simply a plug-in accessory. Time will tell.  This patent report focuses on references to the light pen and not on the touch screen technology itself.    


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Apple Could Advance Gaming & Paint in Magic Mouse Upgrade


On January 21, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next possible chapters for Apple's Magic Mouse. Apple introduced the world's first Multi-Touch Mouse this past October. The Magic Mouse features a seamless touch-sensitive enclosure that allows it to be a single or multi-button mouse with advanced gesture support. Using intuitive gestures, users can easily scroll through long documents, pan across large images or swipe to move forward or backward through a collection of web pages or photos. In today's patent, we see that Apple is already in the process of either developing a new input device (or devices) or could actually be planning an advanced version of the Magic Mouse to process kinematical inputs and gestures that the patent claims will directly benefit video games, interactive navigation and industrial applications amongst others. The next tricks that the Magic Mouse will apparently learn includes advanced gestures revealed as tilt, tap, slide, scoop and yes, brush. The latter gesture suggests that Apple could be gearing up to introduce a new paint or illustration program. That was indirectly presented in another recent patent relating to yet another input device in the form of a 3D remote wand of sorts. In fact, some of the motions described here today, would actually suit the other patent pending input device better. 

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Apple Thinks Green Again with Solar Cell Panels for Media Players



Last week Apple introduced us to a Smart Home Energy Management System that had every tree hugging site on the planet cheering Apple on to the n-th degree. Well today's patent application from Apple should provide an encore for this audience, because Apple is seriously working on reinventing their media players to operate, for the most part, using solar cell panel technology; Panels that could cover a portion of the front or back covers of portable devices that are made from a transparent or semi-transparent material. One of the cool factors to Apple's technology is that if one or more of the solar cells are obstructed from a light source, the voltage output of the solar cells can use a technique described as first and second cell chain reactions to ensure that the device retains a constant source of power. The system works with a regular battery to ensure that in times of complete darkness the media players will still be functional. What will they think of next?

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Apple: The Tablet Prophecies – Future Twists

The Tablet Prophecies - Future Twists, Cover, Pt.3 

In this final chapter of the Tablet Prophecies, we're going to take a look at possible Future Twists that could have explosive consequences for Apple in many ways. Some twists have stemmed from a single patent alone, while others have come together by connecting the dots between various patents in a very careful and deliberate manner. For instance, we know that Apple is seriously thinking of a business form twist for a tablet considering that they were granted an ink engine patent to support that direction. We know that Apple is likewise considering a notebook tablet twist - and in this report, we'll illustrate a very unique twist involving new sound sensors. But there seems to be a bigger picture forming here that is the twist of twists. Perhaps it's just me, but one of these twists could put Apple into revolution mode once again - perhaps in a way that no one ever saw coming. Hold on, because the last chapter of the Tablet Prophecies - is going to be a lot of fun.    

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Apple: The Tablet Prophecies – Part 2

Apple - The Tablet Prophecies, Cover - Part Two, b

In part one of Apple: The Tablet Prophecies – we began with the question: What is it about tablets that gets the masses all worked up? By the end of that chapter, I think most were able to see why the excitement surrounding Apple's new tablet has been justified. By drilling down into Apple's patents, we were able to demonstrate the depth of engineering that has gone into crafting this unique tablet. Apple is, afterall, reinventing the tablet and not simply regurgitating the same old desktop experience into a tablet form factor like their competitors have done unsuccessfully. Just saying that they have a tablet means little, considering that they introduced the tablet a decade ago. How embarrassing it will be to have Apple, yes - little Apple, actually sell more tablets in a single year than they could pull off in a decade: S-L-A-P.  The difference is that Apple actually T-H-I-N-K-S things through. They go down the rabbit hole for us - and grok over the tiniest of details so that they could actually give us a unique experience with each and every device they design. Apple's obsessive design team leader, Jonathan Ive, is relentless – and it shows in every product they ship. The same is true for Apple's software, under the watch of Bertrand Serlet. In part one of this special report, you read about Morphing Controls, next generation Floating Controls, Touch Zone back panels, Virtual Keyboards and more. Today the adventure continues as you'll learn about yet more details regarding Apple's forthcoming tablet that will pump you up for next week's announcements. Get ready: here's part two.

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Apple Wins Key iPhone Interface & Touch Patents


The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 10 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include one relating Apple's touch technology in respect to a soft key interaction indicator, another relating to an SATA storage device, yet another relating to everything you wanted to know about assembling an iPod and finally, a granted patent for the iPhone's Account Information Display which notes Steve Jobs as one of the inventors.

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Apple: The Tablet Prophecies

Apple - The Tablet Prophecies, Cover - Part One b 

What is it about tablets that gets the masses all worked up? I don't know. Yet what I do know is that with Apple's forthcoming tablet sporting high-end accelerometers, GPS and Google Maps, I don't think that any of us will be going around in circles in the desert for 40 years trying to find the Promised Land. "Apple - Reinvents the Tablet," the headlines will read the day after Steve Jobs holds up the tablet to the shouting masses who will be pleased with the sacrifice Apple has made. Others will begin to smelt golden copies of the anointed tablet – but none shall prevail. Yet until that day arrives, the masses are starving for some real news about the coming tablet. What will it offer, pray tell. In part one of this short two part series titled The Tablet Prophecies, we'll first take a look back at some rather interesting tablet-specific applications that Apple has been working on to make their first tablet unique. Then in part two we'll take a look back at some great tablet-specific hardware features that Apple has revealed to us in various patents over the years. Who knows, perhaps some of the coolest applications and hardware features you'll read about this week will actually debut on Apple's' first iteration of the tablet next week. For now, let's dig right into Apple's Tablet Prophecies and find out what we could be in store for.    

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Simulation: Using OS X 3D in Medical & Engineering Applications


In December 2009, Patently Apple presented one of Apple's most exciting patents of the year which took us into the futuristic world OS X-3D. The patent presented us with a view of a sophisticated head tracking system that would allow the user to view different angles of a graphic, simulation model or even a chart using Apple's iWork based 'Numbers' application. Then last week in a posted report covering Intel's CES Keynote 2010, I presented the possibility that Apple would likely update their iLife Application suite applications iPhoto and iMovie in concert with the release of Apple's futuristic OS. The work at Intel's labs definitely sparked that idea, specifically in creating Avatars using iMovie. Today, I was presented with two simulations of what Apple's futuristic OS could look like working with medical and engineering applications. The simulations were done on an iMac and I think that you'll find them to be absolutely fascinating. As long as you know that they're simulations and not secret tests that I've discovered, we're okay with a little fun on a Friday: Check it out!  

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Apple Ramping up Applications for Quattro Wireless – Again

Custom Contact Icons, Cover 
In October 2009, Apple stunned many in and outside of the Mac community with a patent about an Apple hardware subsidizing plan that would in effect consist of an enforceable ad program mechanism.  The straight forward deal would be simple: if you want a subsidized iPhone or even a free one, for example, then you'll have to abide by some rather basic rules involving interaction with ads that would periodically appear on your system. Why this initiative-to-be upset so many people is still a mystery to me. Then on December 21, yet another patent surfaced indicating that Apple would put ads on media players accessing Apple's App Store. On January 4, AllThingsD, Kara Swisher - broke the news about Apple buying Quattro Wireless which quickly spread throughout the Mac community via sites like MacSurfer, 9 to 5 Mac, MacDailyNews and others. In hindsight, we now see that Apple's patents actually provided us all with a clear heads-up on a new direction that Apple was considering for internet services. In context, yesterday's published patent added yet another twist in the wireless ad game. While the patent begins with providing touch screen based media player users with a rather valuable method of creating highly functional contact icons for their home page, it quickly shifts to exposing Apple's ulterior motives relating to ad placements. Though to be honest, it could end up being a nifty idea, really.

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Apple Reveals Smart-Home Energy Management Dashboard System

1 - Apple In-Home Powerline Networking, Cover graphic
Every once in a while we're given insights to systems that could be game changers and while not apparently sexy at the moment, Apple surprises us with a peek at their coming Smart Home Energy Management Dashboard System that packs a punch. Apple's patent reviews technology related to this system that many simply know as HomePlug Powerline Networking. HomePlug Powerline Networking turns every power outlet in your home or office into a conduit for audio, video and data. Wireless technologies could be prone to dead-spots and fading - but with HomePlug certified adapters you just plug them in and within minutes you have high speed internet coming out of every plug in the house. You could do the same thing for HDTV and iTunes. Get ready folks, because this looks like Apple is ramping this up for sometime in the near future. And, let it be said, could be yet another tablet application.  

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Apple's Media Players will One Day be Both Portable TV & DVR

Apple Media Players as TV, DVR 

On January 14, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters coming to Apple's Media Players. In Q4 2010, Apple introduced their fifth generation iPod nano that introduced a video camera and a new way to not only listen to the radio, but to pause and tag it as well. While today's patent covers this new iPod nano feature – it also goes to where Apple's media players could venture into next: HDTV. In the very same manner that radio is handled today, the patent carries this concept through to television - Not only for watching it, but for recording it as well, even on the go. To me that sounds a lot like a portable DVR - and that would be very cool. The patent makes it crystal clear that it will handle programming that is found on over-the-air radio or television (TV), satellite radio or TV, cable TV or music services, Internet streaming broadcasts and so forth. With the iPod Classic, you'll use the scroll wheel to turn the channel and the larger media players will have a virtual dial with a more elaborate interface. All in all, Apple is aiming to add cable or satellite TV to their media players and to confirm that, the USPTO just published a push button antenna patent from Apple just after Christmas.  

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Apple Wins Final Cut Studio Motion & MagSafe Patents

MagSafe Connector, B4 Cover

The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of seven newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include one that relates to Apple's Final Cut Studio's Motion technology, two patents for MagSafe that relate to both the design and technology behind it, another one covering a power savings technology relating to reducing replay occurrences in processors and finally, Apple wins their third iPod nano third generation design patent.

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Intel's CES Keynote 2010, Apple and iLife 3D

Cool = Intel, Cover 

In October 2009, Patently Apple pointed to Intel being On the Cusp of a Whole New Industry and presented you with an insider's view of what Intel had been promoting and marketing behind the scenes in respect to the next wave of 3D TV and other interesting subject matters.  In Otellini's CES keynote, he shared his belief that "we're on the cusp of a new era in computing."  More importantly, Otellini and his 3D lab team treated us to some very powerful conceptual imagery; Imagery that most definitely could translate into explosive new Apple products in the coming years. Beyond that, Otellini emphasized SmartTV, the power needed to power all forms of 3D content and introduced us all to the Home Energy Management Dashboard that will definitely become a part of our in-home strategy down the road.


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Apple Reveals Hard Drive Shock Event Detection & Intelligent Storage

Hard Drive Shock Event Detection, Cover

On January, 7, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's hard drive systems. According to Apple, "Hard drives can be susceptible to mechanical failure or damage due to a physical shock or vibration. Thus, certain hard drives utilize sensors that detect the physical orientation, surrounding environment, or movement of the hard drive and, thereby, detect the occurrence a shock event. One such sensor is an acceleration sensor. One problem with existing shock sensing mechanisms is that additional components, such as an acceleration sensor, are required to enable shock detection based on surrounding environmental conditions. The additional components can add cost, use limited circuit board space, and increase hard drive circuitry size." Apple's patent addresses deficiencies in the prior art by providing systems, methods and devices that enable the detection of a shock event in a less complex and costly manner without the need for sensing surrounding environmental conditions. Secondly, Apple introduces us to what they describe as an intelligent storage device. Apple's technology will cover the iPhone, Mac desktops and notebooks. The only thing missing in this patent is a reference to future solid state drives. 

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Apple Reveals New Touch Screen Technology for iPhone & MacBook Tablet

1 - cover - next gen touch screen 
On January 7, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's multi-touch screen technology. Apple's patent generally relates to displays having pixels that include capacitive elements, and more particularly to displays in which capacitive elements of the pixels that form part of the display system that generates an image on the display also form part of a touch sensing system that senses touch events on or near the display. Additionally, the patent focuses on displays including pixels with dual-function capacitive elements that translate into fewer moving parts and/or processor steps that could deliver thinner, brighter displays. While Apple's patent, in general, could only be truly appreciated by someone with a Ph. D in this particular discipline, we mere mortals are able to see that Apple will use this next generation touch screen technology on their iPhone, iPod touch and yes, a touch screen MacBook or future MacBook-Tablet. Apple's new displays will in part, utilize LTPS screen technology which is said to be lightning fast.   

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Apple Gets knuckles Rapped with FCC Fine

Fotolia_15998478_XS Gavel, Jan 2010 v2 smaller

On December 2, 2009, a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture was made public against Apple Inc. by Kathryn S. Berthot, Chief Spectrum Enforcement Division of the FCC under file number EB-09-SE-152. According to the FCC document "Section 20.19(i)(1) of the Rules requires handset manufacturers to file hearing aid compatibility status reports under revised rules initially on January 15, 2009 (covering the six month period ending December 31, 2008) and then annually beginning July 15, 2009.   Apple did not file the report covering the six month period ending December 31, 2008 until June 3, 2009, nearly 5 months after the January 15, 2009 due date.   Accordingly, we find that Apple failed to timely file the hearing aid compatibility status report in apparent willful  violation of the requirements set forth in Section 20.19(i)(1) of the Rules." Additionally, the FCC documents state that "We conclude under this standard that Apple is apparently liable for forfeiture for its failure to timely file the required hearing aid compatibility status report in apparent willful violation of the requirements set forth in Section 20.19(i)(1) of the Rules." The FCC, however, did find "that downward adjustment to the $6,000 base forfeiture amount to $5,000 is warranted based on Apple’s demonstrated good faith effort."   A major portion of the FCC document is enclosed in this report for verification purposes.

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Apple Working on iChat & 3D UI for Portables

1 - Cover - 3D UI for Future Media Players, v3 
Very early this morning, Gus Sentementes of the Baltimore Sun contacted me about a patent that he had discovered about a 3D interface from Apple. In his report, he assigns the technology to Apple's rumored tablet. Not that the technology couldn't pertain to a tablet, because it most certainly could, but indirectly. The patent in question never uses the term tablet as Apple has in many instances including one reported on today in a granted patent report.  The new patent in question, credits Fabrice Robinet, Thomas Goossens and Alexandre Moha of France. The catch here of course is that Alexandre Moha is Product & Engineering Manager at Apple. So there's no doubt that it's an Apple patent and there's equally no doubt that the patent places emphasis on a 3D interface coming to Apple's media players -the iPhone specifically. Although the patent figures don't go into as much detail as another recent 3D patent from Apple, there's no doubt that this patent advances and confirms that this is a direction that Apple is taking their media players in the future. Equally important, in my view, is that this patent points to a new unique camera built into a future iPhone that will allow the user to rotate the position of the optical sensor within the iPhone's housing so that a single optical sensor could be used for both video conferencing and still and/or video image acquisition. Turn the camera out for pictures and turn the camera in for video conferencing. That may end up really being the magic to this patent.

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Apple Wins Major Nike + iPod and Multi-Touch Patents

Nike + iPod, Cover

The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 16 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include one relating to the Nike + iPod device and monitoring system, another for an iPod workout armband, two very detailed multi-touch related patents covering noise detection in Multi-Touch sensors, another covering Apple's iPhoto calendar interface and finally we see that Apple has won their third patent related to the MagSafe magnetic connector.

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