Apple Granted Two New Patents for a Future Headset that covers new Invention Claims for Features like AR, Siri and more
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 76 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover two new granted patents relating to a future Apple head mounted display device. The two patents add new claims that reveal a few features like VR capabilities using a camera on the headset or associated with an iPhone. The headset will be able to operate an iPhone at a different resolution than normal. The patent claims note that the headset will work with Siri and that Apple's headsets could come in two form factors.
Granted Patent: HMD for retaining an iDevice
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to a head-mounted display (HMD) system and method of operation are provided in which the system can allow users to couple and decouple a portable electronic device with a head-mounted device. The portable electronic device may for example be physically and/or operatively coupled and decoupled with the head-mounted device. In some embodiments, the two devices may be considered temporarily integrated.
Apple's patent figure 3 illustrates a headset that could be controlled by a remote but could also include a voice recognition module which of course now means Siri.
Patently Apple covered Apple's original patent application back in 2010 dating back to 2008 or one year after the first iPhone came to market. The original patent application covered the following features: Camera possibilities; exterior controls, using a remote with the headset; haptics; clip mechanics; external viewing and audio; and PIP Picture-in-Picture.
Apple was granted their first patent for this in February 2015.
Important new Headset Patent Claims
Today Apple was granted two patents for their headset. Each of the two new granted patents cover extended patent claims which provide new legal coverage for the device and differs from the original patent application and original granted patent. Patent claims act as a legal warning to those inventing a similar headset that Apple has claims to certain features. Infringing said claims for their invention could land them in court for patent infringement.
So what important new claims was Apple granted today by the U.S. Patent Office? Below is a random list of new elements Apple was granted related to their future headset.
In granted patent 9,646,573 Apple puts emphasis on the iDevice in the headset. The focus is on providing a future iPhone to operate in two distinct modes, with one distinctly for when it's in the headset. When in the headset the iPhone display will operate at a different resolution.
"A cellular telephone comprising: a speaker; a button; a camera; and a display, wherein the display is configured to operate in one of a normal viewing mode and a close up viewing mode, wherein the display is configured to operate in the close up viewing mode when the cellular telephone is connected to a head-mounted device, and wherein the display is configured to operate in the normal viewing mode when the cellular telephone is not connected to the head-mounted device.
Patent Claim #2: The cellular telephone defined in claim 1, wherein the display is configured to divide an image frame into a left image frame and a right image frame while operating in the close up viewing mode.
Patent Claim #3: The cellular telephone defined in claim 1, wherein the cellular telephone is configured to be connected to the head-mounted device using a connector … [Claim # 4] wherein the connector is configured to couple to a complementary connector in the head-mounted device.
In Apple's patent claim #12 they note that presenting images according to the first format comprises presenting images with a first resolution. In patent claim # 13 Apple adds that "The method defined in claim 12, wherein presenting images according to the second format comprises presenting images with a second resolution that is different than the first resolution."
In granted patent 9,646,574 Apple puts emphasis on Augmented Reality.
In Apple's patent claim # 1 they noted that "A head-mounted apparatus comprising: a frame; a display supported by the frame; a camera configured to capture an image; a sensor that is configured to detect a stimulus; lenses adjacent to the display through which the display is viewable; and a processor configured to operate in a first mode in which image based content is displayed on the display without displaying the captured image and in a second mode in which the captured image is displayed on at least a portion of the display, wherein the processor is configured to operate in the second mode in response to detection of the stimulus by the sensor.
Patent Claim #2: The head-mounted apparatus defined in claim 1, wherein the processor is configured to overlay the captured image over a portion of the image based content in the second mode.
In patent claim #6 Apple notes: The head-mounted apparatus defined in claim 1, wherein the stimulus is a voice command and wherein the sensor is a microphone configured to detect the voice command.
In patent claim #13 Apple notes that "A head-mounted apparatus comprising: a frame; a display supported by the frame, wherein the display is configured to present a left image frame and a right image frame; lenses adjacent to the display through which the display is viewable; and an optical sensor that is configured to gather eye location information, wherein the display is configured to adjust a position of the left image frame on the display and a position of the right image frame on the display based on the eye location information to accommodate an interpupillary distance.
In patent claim #25 Apple notes that "The head-mounted apparatus defined in claim 14, wherein the support structure has a goggles form factor.
In patent claim #26 Apple notes that "The head-mounted apparatus defined in claim 14, wherein the support structure has a glasses form factor.
This is the first round of patent claims that directly hints at Augmented Reality. Secondly, today's headsets like Gear VR hold a smartphone in place for the headset whereas Apple's will require that the phone be connected to a connector in the headset. While Apple doesn't elaborate on this in their granted patents, it's obvious that Apple will be able to add functionality to the iPhone through the headset connection. It could a specialized VR chip or means of changing the resolution of the display or adding specialized haptics. It's clear that Apple is taking a different take on a future headset.
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