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Apple Wins Apple TV + Design Patents for iPhone, iMac & More

1b cover, Apple Inc, granted patent for iMac, iPhone, Apple TV, iPod nano & more 
At this year's D8 Conference, Steve Jobs reiterated Apple's position that it's not a technological problem trying to reinvent TV, it's a go-to-market problem. And while Apple's engineers are burning the midnight oil to figure out how to unravel that mystery, the USPTO today revealed that Apple has been granted three key Apple TV related patents. The patents cover Apple TV's interface in respect to navigation, browsing, searching and playback of media including music, TV shows, movies, podcasts and so forth. In addition to those patents, Apple has racked up a number of key industrial design patents today covering the original iPod, the iPod nano, the iMac, the 2G iPhone and more.

Granted Patent: Apple TV User Interface – Part One

Apple has been granted a patent for the Apple TV interface. As shown below, Apple's patent FIG. 14 illustrates an exemplary main menu screen. In FIG. 16, you see Apple TV sub-categories covering "Featured", "Most Viewed", "Most Recent", "Top Rated", "Favorites" and "History". In addition, other items within the menu include "Search" and "Log-out."

2 - Apple Inc, Apple TV GUI granted patent, FIGS 14 & 15 

Patent Background

Conventionally, graphical user interfaces have been presented on display devices associated with various electronic apparatus. For example, a television utilizes its television screen to present graphical user interfaces that enable a user to configure or program the television. A television can also connect to a set-top box that can also operate to present of a graphical user interface with menus that can be traversed to specify television programs that are to be played as scheduled or on-demand or recorded for subsequent playback. It is common that a remote controller be utilized to interact with the television or set-top box in order to make selections with respect to these graphical user interfaces. Typically, the remote controller utilizes infrared data transmission between the remote controller and the television or set-top box.

With the growth of the Internet, centralized, online hosting of media content has become prevalent. As an example, online media stores are prevalent on the Internet and facilitate review, preview and purchase of media items, such as songs, ring tones or videos. Peer-to-peer sharing of media files is also prevalent on the Internet. Another form of online hosting of media content allows numerous users to publish media content, such as videos, to a media server coupled to the Internet. One example of an online host for media content is YouTube, Inc. operating a media server at the network domain name of "". Upon submission of a media item to the media server, a submitter can provide information pertaining to the video being submitted. This information can include a title, brief description, category and tag(s). Once submitted and stored to the media server, other users can access the media server via the Internet to browse, search or play the various videos.

Patent Summary

The invention relates to navigating, browsing, searching and/or playback of digital media assets (e.g., media items) hosted on a media server. One embodiment of the invention pertains to a user interface arrangement, such as a hierarchical menu system, that facilitates navigation, browsing and playing of media items remotely stored on a media server. The user interface arrangement enables user scrolling or browsing with respect to a list or set of information pertaining to media items, where the list or set can be expanded to include information for additional media items that are subsequently acquired. The user interface arrangement can also present and permit navigation of categorized media items. The user interface arrangement can be presented on a display device associated with a client device. In one embodiment, the display device can be a television and the client device can be an electronic apparatus that can couple to the media server via a network.

Apple credits Rachel Goldeen, Jeffrey Ma, Michael Margolis, Rainer Brodersen, Calin Pacurariu and Jeffrey Robbin as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,743,116, originally filed in Q2 2007. The original patent title: Method and user interface for accessing groups of media assets.

Granted Patent: Apple TV User Interface – Part Two

Patent Background

Media devices, such as digital video and audio players, can include multiple functions and capabilities, such as playing stored content, browsing and selecting from recorded content, storing and/or receiving content selected by a user, and the like. These various functions can often be grouped according to content types, e.g., movies, music, television programs, photos, etc. The functions can then be accessed through various user interfaces that are typically arranged in a hierarchal manner, having a "root" or "home" user interface at the top of the hierarchy, from which the various context-dependent user interfaces are accessible. The user interfaces can include both graphical and textual features. It is desirable that the user interface conveys information to the user in an intuitive manner.

Graphical processing, however, can consume processing resources. If a media system does not have adequate processing resources, such as may occur when multiple system processes are being handled by the media system, the graphical features within the user interface may not be rendered adequately. For example, the graphical features may not transition smoothly across the user interface, or may display noticeable color variations, or other processing artifacts. Accordingly, it is desirable to render graphical images and effects while minimizing the processing resources for such rendering and effects.

3c - Apple Inc, Apple TV UI granted patent 2, FIGS 1, 2 & 5 


This particular Apple TV related patent covers systems and methods for rendering images along a multidimensional path in the Apple TV interface. In one implementation, a plurality of display positions along a multidimensional path is arranged. Images are displayed in one or more of the display positions, and blurred versions of the images are also displayed in one or more of the of the display positions. Opacity values of the blurred versions of the images based the display positions in which the blurred versions of the images are displayed are adjusted to create a blurring effect.

Patent FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the Apple TV media processing system; FIG. 2 is the Apple TV remote; FIG. 5 represents the core of this patent which is a transition of media menu item abstractions in the Apple TV menu interface environment.

Apple credits Thomas Madden as the sole inventor of Granted Patent 7,743,338, originally filed in Q3 2006. The original patent title: Image rendering with image artifact along a multidimensional path.

In Apple's third Apple TV related patent officially titled " Rendering icons along a multidimensional path having a terminus position" we see that CEO Steve Jobs is partly credited along with engineers Rainer Brodersen, Rachel Goldeen, Jeffrey Ma, Mihnea Pacurariu, Thomas Madden, Jeff Robbin and Eric Seymour. For more information, see patent 7,743,341.

Apple's Abstract: Icons are arranged in foreground background positions in an interface environment to define a multidimensional path extending from a terminus. The icons transition between the foreground position and the background positions along the multidimensional path.

Industrial Design Wins: iMac, iPod, iPod nano & iPhone

Apple has been granted several key industrial design patents covering the iMac, iPhone 2G, the original iPod, iPod nano second and third generation versions, earbuds, a connector and theiPhone calculator interface.

 4c - Apple Inc, Industrial design wins, iMac, original iPod, iPod nano 2nd & 3rd gen + iPhone 2G 

Other Granted Patents (GP) Published Today

GP 7,742,525 - Adaptive motion estimation

Abstract: Apple's patent is about a method for adaptively performing motion estimation. In some embodiments, the method initially performs a first motion estimation operation. It then determines whether the estimated error in the result of the first motion estimation is greater than a particular threshold. If not, the method uses the results of the first motion estimation operation. Otherwise, the method selects another motion estimation operation. The method continues in this manner until it performs a motion estimation operation that results in an acceptable estimated error, or until it tries all the motion estimation operations at its disposal. When the method cannot identify a motion estimation operation that produces results with an acceptable estimated error, the method selects the result of the motion estimation operation that produced the best results.

GP 7,743,336 - Widget security

Abstract: Apple's patent is about a widget security system. A method and computer-readable medium detects a security event associated with a widget, assesses the risk associated with the security event, and initiates a security action based on the assessed risk.

GP 7,743,371 - System and method for dynamically loading object modules

GP 7,743,279 - Program counter (PC) trace

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, minus the "GP" suffix (if present) into this search engine. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.



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