Apple Advances iPhone Adaptive Navigation System Patent
Apple Reveals a One-Touch Ejection System for iPod/iPhone

Apple Wins Key Ink Engine Patent for Future Tablet Applications


The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of nine newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include several industrial design wins for Apple covering Airport Extreme, earphones, Universal Dock and iPhone's retail packaging. Yet the one that hits a homerun today covers an Ink Phase Termination Engine that supports Apple's Inkwell technology and a future Tablet device supporting handwriting applications. The evidence for an Apple based Smartbook-Tablet hybrid device is certainly mounting.



Ink Phrase Termination Engine and Tablet Granted Patent


Apple's granted patent generally relates to an ink manager for acquiring and organizing pen-based ink information for use by pen-aware and other applications.





Although the current iPhone is dependent upon using your finger as the input stylus, a future larger tablet could in fact accommodate a stylus or pen-based input system as well so as to address both handwriting and drawing applications. Such a system would be able to tap into Apple's Inkwell application that is noted a as a key technology under OS X Snow Leopard.






According to Apple's Inkwell verbiage, Mac OS X Leopard comes with built-in handwriting recognition technology called Inkwell (or Ink). If you connect a graphics tablet to your Mac, you can write on the tablet using a stylus, and Inkwell translates what you write to typed words in your document. Some applications allow you to enter text directly; with others, you first enter the text into a “scratch pad” (where you can edit or revise it) before bringing it into the application. Inkwell supports several stylus gestures, making it easy to select, edit, and delete text. It also understands English, French, and German.


Apple's noted patent FIG. 3 above, is a highly schematized, functional block diagram of the software components running on a tablet. Here we see an Ink Phase Termination Engine and various handwriting components working in concert with a Tablet PC. Also noted above is Apple's patent FIG. 2 which is a top view of a tablet device.  The illustration shows us that the tablet could provide a series of horizontal lines to assist users align their handwriting. Various control buttons could provide commands for scrolling purposes or to call up apps such as email or Apple's iWork based Pages etc.


Apple's Proposed Smartbook-Tablet Hybrid




In July 2008, one of Apple's patents divulged a notebook-tablet hybrid.  The patent titled "Application Programming Interfaces for Gesture Operations," stated that the "the laptop device 3300 can be converted into a tablet device as illustrated in FIG. 33B and FIG. 33C. This was illustrated in a series of three patents covering gestures, scrolling and Synchronization.  


When you combine Apple's granted patent 7,564,995 published today with a more current 2008 patent revealing a tablet-smartbook hybrid, it becomes apparent that Apple is seriously contemplating a move into the smartbook market over time. Furthermore, with Apple acknowledging that Inkwell is a key technology in their upcoming OS X Snow Leopard, you know that they have the components in place to make a stylus capable tablet a reality.  


Apple credits Larry S. Yaeger, Richard W. Fabrick, II  and Giulia M. Pagallo as the inventors of granted patent 7,564,995.


Industrial Design Win: Airport Extreme


Apple has been granted a design patent for Airport Extreme which originally debuted at MacWorld 2003. Airport Extreme is Apple's local area wireless networking device.  Apple's latest Airport Extreme upgrade offers dual band wireless support  (2.4 and 5 GHz) and Guest Networking.


AirPort Extreme



Apple credits the following engineers as inventors of this granted design patent D596,626: Bartley K. Andre, Daniel J. Coster,  Daniele De Iuliis, Richard P. Howarth, Jonathan P. Ive,  Duncan Robert  Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas B. Satzger, Vincent Keane, Christopher J. Stringer, Eugene Antony Whang, Rico Zorkendorfer and Calvin Q. Seid. The port configuration shown in FIG. 3 verifies that this design is the Airport Extreme.


Other Noteworthy Granted Patents Published Today: granted patent 7,565,036 titled "Image Scaling Arrangement" relates to images on an iPod scaling to other devices like a TV; granted patent 7,565,289 titled " Echo Avoidance in Audio Time Stretching" relates to digital audio signals avoiding echoes associated with transients included in time stretched digital audio signals.


Other Industrial Design Win Images: Universal Dock, Earphones, iPhone Retail Packaging


Universal Dock, Ear phones, iPhone retail packaging


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 Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any granted patent noted above, simply feed the individual patent number(s) into this search engine. 


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