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Apple Wins Key Patents for iSight Camera, the MacBook's Multi-Touch Trackpad and iPhone Sensors

1 - Apple Inc, Cover Graphic, Granted patents June 1, 2010 - b 
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 33 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today of which 11 were designated Industrial design patents. The notables within the other lot includes three core patents covering Apple's MacBook Multi-Touch Trackpad, Apple's embedded iSight camera with privacy filter and lastly a key patent covering proximity and light sensors used in Apple's iPod touch, iPad and iPhone.


Granted Patent: Embedded iSight Camera with Privacy Filter


Apple has been granted a patent for their embedded iSight Camera with privacy filter which is present in Apple's iMac and MacBook computers and is used in conjunction with iChat, Apple's excellent video conferencing software.


2 - Apple Inc, embedded iSight camera with privacy filter patent win, figs 1, 2a,b 

Apple's patent officially states that "an apparatus includes a housing having an integrated camera. A panel is positioned in front of at least a portion of the camera and is operable to selectively switch between at least a substantially transparent state and at least a substantially opaque state."


Apple credits Brett Bilbrey as the sole inventor of Granted Patent 7,728,906, originally filed in Q1 2006.


Granted Patent: Integrated Proximity & Light Sensors


Apple has been granted a key patent relating to integrated proximity and light sensors found in their iPod touch, iPad and iPhone portable devices.


3 - Apple Inc, Granted Patent for integrated proximity and light sensors, figs 4, 7a, b 

Apple's patent states that "U.S. patent application publication no. 2005/0219228 describes a device which includes many sensors, including a proximity sensor and a light sensor. The outputs from the sensors are processed to determine a device context. The light sensor detects ambient light levels and the proximity sensor detects a proximity to an object, such as a user's ear or face. In this case, there are two separate sensors which require two openings in the housing of the device."


Apple'siPhone technology webpage states that "When you lift iPhone to your ear, the proximity sensor immediately turns off the display to save power and prevent accidental dialing. The ambient light sensor in iPhone automatically brightens the display when you're in sunlight or a bright room and dims it in darker places."

Apple credits Anthony Fadell and Achim Pantfoerder as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,728,316, originally filed in Q4 2006.


Granted Patent: MacBook Multi-Touch TrackPad


Apple's webpage describes the MacBook's Multi-Touch Trackpad this way: "The first thing you might notice — or not notice — about the MacBook Pro trackpad is the button. The entire trackpad is the button, so you can click anywhere. Without a separate button, the spacious trackpad gives your hands plenty of room to move on the large, silky glass surface. Use two fingers to scroll smoothly up and down a page with inertial scrolling. Pinch to zoom in and out. Rotate an image with your fingertips. Swipe with three fingers to flip through your photo libraries. Swipe with four fingers to show your desktop, view all open windows, or switch applications. If you're coming from a right-click world, you can right-click with two fingers or configure a right-click area on the trackpad. The more you use the Multi-Touch trackpad, the more you'll wonder what you ever did without it."


4 - Apple Inc, patent win for macbook multi-touch trackpad, fig 10 

Apple's Abstract: An input device and system are described that acquires (measures) raw track pad sensor data and transmits this data to a host computer where it is analyzed by an application executing on one or more host computer central processing units. The resulting input processing architecture provides a track pad input device that is both lower in cost to manufacture and more flexible than prior art track pad input devices. Lower costs may be realized by eliminating the prior art's dedicated track pad hardware for processing sensor data (e.g., a processor and associated firmware memory). Increased flexibility may be realized by providing feature set functionality via software that executes on the host computer. In this architecture, track pad functionality may be modified, updated, and enhanced through software upgrade procedures.


Apple credits Benjamin Lyon, Stephanie Cinereski, Chad Bronstein and Steven Hotelling as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,728,823, originally filed in Q3 2005.


Other Granted Patents (GP) Published Today


GP 7,730,223 - Wireless home and office appliance management and integration

GP 7,730,460 - Code execution visualization using software fingerprinting

GP 7,728,558 - Systems and methods for selectively changing current limit of a battery controller

GP 7,729,791 - Portable media playback device including user interface event passthrough to non-media-playback processing

GP 7,728,739 - Entropy codec with variable divisor

GP 7,728,742 - Method and apparatus for compressing and decompressing data

GP 7,730,326 - Method and system for updating firmware stored in non-volatile memory

GP 7,730,026 - Method and system using reusable state information for synchronization and maintenance of data

GP 7,730,070 - Index aging and merging

GP 7,729,292 - Method and apparatus for detecting a router that improperly responds to ARP requests.

GP 7,730,012 - Methods and systems for managing data

GP 7,730,155 - Method and apparatus for dynamically locating resources

GP 7,730,159 - Method and apparatus for dynamically locating resources

GP 7,728,799 - Active enclosure for computing device

GP 7,729,131 - Multiple circuit board arrangements in electronic devices



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



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