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Apple Wins Major Patents for an Original Mystery iPhone Design, the iPod Clickwheel, iPhoto and a New Ad Based Processing System

1 Cover - iPhoto granted patent 
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include a design patent relating to what Apple describes as an Original Mobile Device design – which appears to be that of an iPhone without the traditional physical "Home" button. Other interesting granted patents published today include one for Apple's iLife based iPhoto application for amateur photographers and another relating to Apple's famous clickwheel. The last patent in this group, could be considered a sleeper. Apple apparently has acquired a patent concerning location based technology that may assist their upcoming iAd services. The patent introduces us to both a server data processing system (SDPS) and a receiving data processing system (RDPS) which are likely to play a major role in the bigger scheme of things going forward.

A Granted Industrial Design Patent: A New Original Mobile Device Design

Apple clearly states that "This is an application for a new, original and ornamental design for an electronic device …" Apple is non committal as to what the design is specifically related to. Its general appearance, however, appears to be that of a next generation "iPhone" without the physical home button which is traditionally found at the bottom center of the unit.

2 - New, Original Design for e-device - 

Apple credits their own CEO Steve Jobs along with Jonathan Ives, Bartley Andre, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Richard Howarth, Jonathan Ive, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas Satzger, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer as the inventors of Granted Patent D615,083, originally filed in Q2 2008. Apple has also won two design patents for products that are now defunct, namely the iPhone Bluetooth Headset under granted patent D615,070 and the clip-on style iPod Shuffle under granted patent D615,069.

Granted Patent: The Clickwheel for Accelerated Scrolling

Apple has been granted a patent for the iPod's clickwheel for accelerated scrolling which may one day, according to Apple's patent FIG. 7A, also apply to a keyboard with an integrated scrollwheel.

3 - Clickwheel accellerated scrolling 

Apple's Abstract states that "a rotational user action supplied by a user via a user input device can provide accelerated scrolling. The accelerated nature of the scrolling enables users to scroll or traverse a lengthy data set (e.g., list of items) faster and with greater ease. The amount of acceleration provided can be performed in successive stages, and/or performed based on the speed of the rotational user action. In one embodiment, the rotational user action is transformed into linear action with respect to a graphical user interface. The resulting acceleration effect causes the linear action to be enhanced such that a lengthy data set is able to be rapidly traversed."

Apple credits Robert Tsuk and Jeffrey Robbin as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,710,393, originally filed in Q4 2006. In a related patent titled "Method and apparatus for use of rotational user inputs," we see that both CEO Steve Jobs and Phillip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing has been added to the credits list of this patent along with Jeffrey Robbin. For more information, see Granted Patent 7,710,394. A third granted patent by the same title has also been issued to Apple under Granted Patent 7,710,409.

Granted Patent: iPhoto

Apple has finally been granted a patent for iPhoto, their cool iApplication for the amateur digital photographer in all of us.

4 - iPhoto granted patent 

Apple's abstract states that the patent is about better realizing "the great potential of amateur digital photography." Apple's patent "introduces an integrated system for the acquisition, organization, manipulation, and publication of digital images by amateur digital photography enthusiasts. The system of the present invention first acquires images from a number of different image sources. Images acquired in the same image importing session are marked as coming from the same conceptual film roll. Next, a user is empowered to organize and manipulate the acquired images. The images may be organized by tagging the images with informative keywords and grouping images together into conceptual photo albums. Furthermore, the images may be manipulated by rotating, cropping, and removing red-eye. Finally, the system of the present invention provides simple intuitive image publish systems. A selected group of images may be published in a photobook, published onto the World Wide Web, or published as individual image prints with minimal computer knowledge on the part of the user."


Apple credits Glenn Reid, Aaron Disario, Daniel Waylonis and Tim Wasko (High River, Canada) as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,710,439, originally filed in Q4 2005.

Granted Patent: Wireless Location Based Services and Advertising System

Apple's granted patent generally relates to location dependent delivery of information to mobile data processing systems, and more particularly to a system for pushing situational location dependent content to data processing system devices traveling to locations for, or in directions of, that place which delivery content is designated as deliverable.

More specifically, Apple's granted patent relates to delivering location based services and advertising.

5 - Wireless Network re location based services patent b 

Apple's patent FIG. 1 depicts a network illustration for discussing the various outdoor embodiments of the present invention; FIG. 2 depicts an aerial view of a city region useful for discussing aspects of the present invention and FIG. 3A depicts a locating by triangulation illustration for discussing a wireless, or cellular, embodiment of the present invention.

Patent Background

The boom of the internet has greatly provided information to mobile users through wireless web server connected devices such as laptops, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and telephones. People with an internet enabled device can access (yahoo is a trademark of Yahoo corporation) and other internet connected resources. There are also Global Positioning System (GPS) devices that enable mobile users to know exactly where they are on a particular map. Users with GPS device functionality can further manually enter their known location into an internet MAP directory service (e.g. Maps) and then provide a target address they want to go to. Step by step instructions are then provided to the user for how to get to the destination from the current location. Some GPS devices provide local processing for directing, and narrating to, a driver. Mating automated location finding systems with internet travel direction services is an attractive blend.

Cadillac recently announced the OnStar program with sales of Cadillac automobiles (Cadillac and OnStar are trademarks of General Motors Corporation). A person is enabled with calling upon an "OnStar Advisor" 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, with the press of a button. An emergency call, for example 911, or for a disabled Cadillac vehicle, allows a driver to instantly call upon wireless connected assistance. The driver may also call upon the OnStar Advisor for directions to a destination. The Advisor has access to automatic processing for determination of the vehicle's current location in case of auto theft, a disabled vehicle, or assisting with directions. The Advisor can also remotely unlock the vehicle should the driver lock the keys in the car. In effect, Cadillac drivers have full time wireless connected assistance around the clock for many reasons. While the location determination of the vehicle is automatic, there remain manual processes performed by the Advisor. Automation of some of these processes is desirable.

Many internet services derive their revenue stream from advertising. Advertisers pay to have their content delivered to users who access web site and web server interfaces. Advertisers desire to target their audience at the most appropriate time. Knowing the location of a user as being relevant to a particular advertisement is desirable. Automating the delivery of the content is desirable.

A method is needed for a low cost business model that enables the efficient configuration of deliverable content for automatic delivery to mobile users based on their situational location that is relevant to receive such content.

Apple's patent covers a solution for this which includes providing "transmission of situational location dependent information from a server data processing system (SDPS) to a receiving data processing system (RDPS). The patent dives deeply into these new processing systems.

Apple credits William Johnson of Texas as the sole inventor of Granted Patent 7,710,290 originally filed in Q2 2007. This is likely a patent that Apple has acquired to benefit their upcoming iAd services.

Other Noteworthy Granted Patents Published Today

Computer system with graphical user interface including spring-loaded enclosures: The present invention relates to computer systems with graphical user interfaces, such as window based systems; and more particularly to techniques for finding, moving, and copying objects in such systems. For more information, see granted patent 7,712,037.

Video acquisition with integrated GPU processing: Techniques and systems can be implemented to improve the quality of images detected by image sensors to improve the quality of the detected images. In some implementations, the described techniques and systems can be used to enable CMOS sensors to be used in place of relatively expensive CCD sensors, such as to achieve comparable quality from a CMOS sensor as from a CCD sensor. In particular, processing can be performed using software, hardware, or a combination of the two to filter out noise, which is increasingly present as light levels decrease; increase dynamic range; improve the overall image quality and/or color fidelity; and/or perform other image processing. Such processing can be offloaded, at least in part, from a computer's central processing unit (CPU) to a graphics processing unit (GPU) to provide a more efficient use of resources and to support adequate frame rates and image resolutions. For more information, see Granted Patent 7,711,200.

Mouse with improved input mechanisms using touch sensors: Apple was granted a patent for their now defunct "Mighty Mouse" under Granted Patent 7,710,397.

User interfaces for electronic calendar systems: Apple has been granted a patent for iCal. Apple's abstract states that the patent is about "methods, systems and machine readable media for operating a calendar in a data processing system. In one exemplary method, a calendar interface is displayed on a device, wherein the calendar interface is capable of zooming between a first or current time frame and a target time frame containing an invitation while preserving contextual continuity for the user. For more information, see Granted Patent 7,701,832.

Other Apple Granted Patents Published Today

  • Dialog item interface definition object: Granted patent 7,712,109
  • Methods and systems to dynamically manage performance states in a data processing system: Granted Patent 7,711,864
  • Method and system for preventing a timeout from reaching a network host: Granted Patent 7,711,829
  • Method and system for approximating graphic equalizers using dynamic filter order reduction: Granted Patent 7,711, 129
  • Mechanism for constraining the movement of an audio jack: Granted Patent 7,708,604
  • For externally clocked digital audio input, determining a valid clock and muting audio during synchronization: Granted Patent 7,710,294
  • Stiffening plate for circuit board and switch assembly: Granted Patent 7,710,737
  • Buffer requirements reconciliation: Granted Patent 7,710,426

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 Issued Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any granted patent noted above that is not directly linked, simply feed the individual patent number(s) provided into this search engine. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.

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The location-based wireless advertising system looks interesting.

[Yet] I can't believe the proposed costs to the initial advertisers for iAd.

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