Depending on how you see it, a Luxembourg Company or Patent Troll by the name Arendi S.A.R.L. is suing Apple for patent infringement on three counts. They've already had some success suing Dell and Microsoft and now they're homing in on Apple. This time around, Arendi is claiming that Apple is infringing on three of their patents yet without specificity. In other words, they're "blanketly" stating that Apple's every product infringes their patents and they'll argue it claim by claim.
While researching tech patents from some of the top companies in the industry as we do every week, we happened to stumble upon a stray patent that just happened to reveal a next generation system of restraining devices such as handcuffs for law enforcement. While the new system focuses on handcuffs, the inventors clarified that the new system could equally apply to ankle cuffs, straightjackets, neck collars, helmets and even facial restraints such as the one used in the film Hannibal. The next generation handcuffs will be super high tech with built-in sensors such as accelerometers, potentiometer, inclinometer, biometric sensors, camera sensors and more. But the kicker to this invention is that these future handcuffs will be able to combine standard restraining mechanisms alongside those that could deliver a powerful electric shock to detainees and/or administer medications to sedate or irritate them. Whether you're in law enforcement or in an activist group, it's an interesting read that will keep your interest. Yes, the cuffs are designed to restrain "the bad guys," but it sure looks as though there's potential here for abuse in the form of mild torture. This kind of invention will have to be carefully monitored and legislated to exacting standards so that the "good guys" walk the line on this one. The filing presents us with a picture of one prototype-like design that appears to be far beyond just the "drawing board," phase. Although it's not an Apple invention in any way, shape or form, it's one that boarders on being a potential social issue that could be of interest to some, especially students that are studying law or those who are engaged in various forms of activism.
Bitter Ex-Apple Executive Glad to See Forstall Fired, Intel's Haswell CPU on Target & More Apple Patents Come to Light
A new BBC Interview with Ex-Apple Executive Tony Fadell reveals a very bitter man who was pleased to see Scott Forstall, Former VP of iOS Software, "get what he deserved." Considering that Forstall is legally unable to defend himself at this point in time, the remarks by Fadell seemed to be a cheap shot. Obviously Steve Jobs didn't have a problem with Fadell's leaving the company. In other news today, DigiTimes confirms that Intel's next generation processor dubbed Haswell is on target to release sometime in Q3 2012. Haswell is one of the most anticipated processors to come along in a long time. It's one that's been designed for the new tablet and mobile era. After the break, our report provides you with a few links to some of Apple's other patent filings that we didn't highlight today.
In an interview with AllThingsD after the iPhone 5's Special Event held in September, Phil Schiller stated to Ina Fried that "wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into the wall, so it's not clear how much convenience they add." Schiller added "Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated." Obviously Schiller was fully aware of the wireless charging system that the Crazy Ones in Cupertino were developing and today the US Patent Office published the patent application behind Apple's future charging system that could charge an entire virtual charging area worth of devices at one time without the need of a charging pad of any kind. The catch is that you'll have to purchase a next generation iMac with upgraded peripherals for it to work.
Apple Reveals Haptic Alert Upgrade for iPhone & New Touchscreen Technologies for iDevices and Cinema Display
On November 29, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published patent applications from Apple covering a new haptic alert for a future iPhone along with a series of seven detailed applications regarding new touchscreen technologies that could be applied to iDevices on through to Apple's Cinema Display.
I was reading a few reports recently about how iDevices have changed or is changing our behaviour as a society. While the reports weren't exclusive to iDevices like Apple's iPhone, the findings would generally apply to them. One 2012 survey stated that 66 percent of smartphone users suffered from nomophobia, the fear of being without your mobile phone. Some of the findings in the research were very interesting and you just might find after reviewing them that you're indeed addicted to your iPhone in ways that you really never realized before. But more importantly, the data shows us that the tech industry just may have to approach the new electronic wallet differently than they have if they want it to be widely accepted by the public.
ABI Research is reporting that Apple's share of the tablet market continued to best all others with 55% unit shipment share in the period. The good news is that Apple has maintained its lead for 10 straight quarters. The bad news is that competition from tablets powered by Google's Android OS is continuing to eat away at Apple's success. Fifty-five percent is the lowest share Apple has ever had since launching the iPad in 2010.
According to IC Insights, "Apple's orders have been the driving force behind Samsung's foundry business." Up until now, Samsung Electronics has been the sole supplier of CPUs that power the existing iPhones and iPads. Yet fresh rumors out of Taiwan this morning state that it appears more than likely that TSMC will start producing chips for Apple's next iOS devices in 2013.
According to a Reuters report published yesterday, Samsung Electronics had claimed that it is taking measures to address unfair labor practices at its Chinese suppliers, including overwork and denial of basic labor rights, in response to a labor group claim in September that the South Korean company has violated rules on worker conditions in China. A Samsung statement claimed: "We are now designing, researching, and/or implementing corrective actions to address every violation that was identified. Corrective actions include new hiring policies and work hours and overtime practices, among other steps, to protect the health and welfare of employees." Yet a new report published by China Labor Watch on Monday titled "Investigations Find That Samsung Is far from Goal of Model Labor Treatment," sees it a little differently than Samsung's nice and tidy press release. Their latest report which covers data from October and November 2012 could be found below. The report provides a link to a PDF that details their full findings.
While Apple may be currently experiencing mass production issues with the iMac and iPad mini, there's one glaring bit of good news this morning. The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows that strong uptake of the iPhone 5 over the past 12 weeks* has boosted iOS back to the number one spot in the US. It now has a 48.1% share of US smartphone sales compared with Android which has 46.7%.
Earlier this month we reported that some of the Hon Hai production problems were likely due to supply chain problems. It now appears that the problems could be far beyond the iPhone 5. According to a new report published by DigiTimes, part suppliers in Apple's supply chain will reportedly have to wait until the first quarter of 2013 to see their revenues bump up as the result of Apple's newly released iPad mini and 21.5- and 27-inch iMac due to mass production issues with the products, according to industry sources. Report Updated 7:20 AM MST
Apple Granted 36 Patents including ones for Dashboard, Interfacing with Sporting Equipment & Keyboard Illumination
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of thirty-six newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Our report highlights three of these patents along with two design patents that Apple received today. To top off our report, we present you with a complete list of the remaining granted patents for those wishing to further explore Apple's winning technologies.
In Walter Isaacson's biography simply titled "Steve Jobs," Issacson penned, "Jobs hated to cede control of anything, especially when it might affect the customer experience. But he faced a problem. There was one part of the process he didn't control: The experience of buying an Apple product in a store." Even when Jobs initially presented his vision for Apple retail stores to the Company board, Issacson writes, "the board was not thrilled." Although they finally got on board with Steve's vision, it goes to prove that even Jobs had to fight internal head winds on getting some of his ideas approved. The video we present to you below can't be viewed without saying to yourself, this is the house that Steve built. This is one of his greatest contributions to the " Total Apple Experience." If you've ever been in an Apple Store, then you know it's one of the greatest retail experiences bar none.
The EU Patent & Trademark Office officially published two Apple trademark applications for "Lightning" under numbers 011399821/862. What's interesting about this filing is that it clearly illustrates that Apple had acquired the trademark from Harley-Davidson which is still protected until 2013. One of the documents indicate that the transfer may have officially occurred yesterday, November 24, 2012, the date that it appeared in the EU's public trademark database.
Last month we posted a report titled "Apple, Google & Others Preparing for the Coming Glass War." Today, we follow through on that report by taking a deeper look at this emerging trend that could very quickly be the next "iPad" in terms of sheer market impact. Various tech industry players are now revealing some of their inventions for a next-gen video headset like Google's "Project Glass" to help us understand how this first generation wearable computer could appeal to us. Although there are a number of known drawbacks to such a device becoming mainstream quickly, I believe it'll eventually become a device that we'll all be drooling for over time. It carries that certain futuristic-appeal that excites our senses and with a few essential applications, like it doubling as your next smartphone, it's going to be a very hot device category. For some, the question is simple: will Apple lead or follow in this future glass projects market?
According to China Business News, Apple has reportedly shifted its battery production orders for the iPad and MacBook to Chinese battery makers Amperex Technology Limited (ATL) and Tianjin Lishen Battery, as the original manufacturer Samsung SDI has stopped supplying Apple. This could explain one of the supply chain problems Apple has been experiencing with Hon Hai's production line slow down. The news out of China didn't fill in the blanks regarding the status of iPhone batteries.
Yesterday Samsung's mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun stated that without Samsung-owned wireless patents, it's impossible for Apple to produce the iPhone. Yet within the last 24 hours, another Korean news source now admits that Apple has been found to actually be ahead of Samsung in the number of registered US patents directly related to LTE. An American intellectual property consulting firm by the name of TechIPm analyzed the LTE patents along with ETN. The results were surprising.
On November 22, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published several patent applications from Apple that relate to their retail store signage and table-top device security. One patent discusses management of multiple dynamic signage devices that could be coordinated within and across stores, and an interactive floor-map creation system incorporating dynamic signage devices that could facilitate changing the associations between products and dynamic signage devices. If retail based technology happens to be of interest to you or if you're just curious as to how Apple designs their in-store signage, our report will point you to four distinct patents that you'll be able to research to your heart's content.
On November 22, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new customer service application specifically designed for iDevices. The project was spearheaded by Benjamin Vigier Product Manager - Mobile Commerce at Apple. Mr. Vigier who came to Apple in 2010 has valuable NFC experience having worked with French mobile operator Bouygues Telecom, an early backer of NFC. Today's revelations show us that for those fortunate enough to live in a city where there's an Apple Store, the newly designed customer service form will help to check users in to see a Genius Bar representative or a workshop/event in a more convenient way. The form will activate automatically on iDevices as they near an Apple Store and provide customers with queue times and other reservation information. Apple's online and in-store service is the very best in the industry today hands down. It now it appears that it's about to get even better.
Five extremely detailed patent applications pertaining to the iPhone 5's new camera App called "Panorama" have been published by the US Patent Office today. Technically speaking, panoramic photography may be defined generally as a photographic technique for capturing images with elongated fields of view. An image showing a field of view approximating 160 degrees wide by 75 degrees high may be termed "panoramic." Additionally, panoramic images generally have an aspect ratio of 2:1 or larger, meaning that the image being at least twice as wide as it is high. Technicalities aside, Panorama is one of the coolest iPhone apps to date and if you love taking pictures, then you're going to love the ability to take shots like you've never been able to do before. Taking photos at concerts, of the Rocky Mountains, of a downtown street festival or just a large group of graduating friends is going to take on a complete new dimension that was unavailable on an iPhone, until now. Today, you'll be able to explore Apple's five new patent applications that reveal how they've designed this app.
Looking beyond OS X Mountain Lion, Apple introduces us to their vision of a future 3D Multi-Level Dock that could take on the appearance of glass shelving or a bookshelf like iBooks. The multi-level dock will allow users to easily customize, search and/or label levels so as to better organize and quickly access their files, photos and applications. It sounds like it could be a great organizational advancement for a future desktop.
Apple's iMessage was first introduced by Scott Forstall at their World Wide Developer Conference in June 2011. Then in February 2012, Apple announced that iMessage was going to replace iChat in OS X Mountain Lion. Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple two Registered Trademarks for iMessage that were originally filed for in September 2011.
Business Insider is claiming today that shipping times are continuing to improve from three weeks to two weeks for the iPhone 5 when you order it online directly through Apple. While that might be great news for US consumers wanting to get their hands on the iPhone 5 for gifts under the Christmas tree this year, the same can't be said in China. According to the Taiwanese Press last week, the iPhone 5 was due to arrive on November 27. Today, several Taiwanese sources are now revising the iPhone 5's launch to sometime in mid-December. The news could be even worse in other parts of Asia. Our November seventh report pointed out that supply remains very tight for the iPhone 5 due to excluding Samsung for crucial iPhone 5 parts like displays. Other delays stemmed from problems in Hon Hai's iPhone 5 production line. In the end, we'll only have to wait until January to find out if Apple's shipping problems were due to supply chain problems or simply demand outstripping supply.
Late last night, Apple officially announced that AC/DC was finally on iTunes. Strangely I was able to purchase a couple of AC/DC songs in iTunes a weeks ago in the Canadian version of iTunes. AC/DC's tune named "Thunderstruck" has always been one of my top all-time high-energy rock favorites and is now in all of my workout playlists. According to Wikipedia, the song is said to have been inspired by lead guitarist Angus Young's hair-raising experience when a plane he was on was struck by lightning. Whether you buy into that rock myth is up to you, but for now, AC/DC fans get to download their favorite tunes today.