It was another banner year for Apple patents in 2010. The Crazy Ones of Cupertino were shown to be working on an incredible line up of ideas and projects in areas ranging from sports to Near Field Communications to next generation 3D user interfaces and devices and even green technologies. Yet at the end of the day, there were ten patents that rose to the top; Ten patents that the Mac Community clearly chose as their favorites. The Mac Community celebrates Apple's spirit of invention as it empowers and inspires us throughout the year. Will one of your favorites be on this list? Well, let the top-ten countdown for 2010 begin!
Do you think that you have the right stuff to become a great product reviewer for Apple's New Mac App Store? Well, it appears that Apple wants to upgrade their app reviewing process to provide a real community-based predictive ranking system for products that small business owners and productive consumers could come to rely on for rich reviews beyond just paid hype. However it's a double-edged sword because the public reviewers will also be compensated for their work in a number of ways. Apple's system could be interesting over time, as this system is based on the number of accurate reviews over time. This is a complicated system but one that marketers and commissioned salespeople could understand. But if you think you're cut out for this, then it may be worth investigating.
Some think that patents never get fulfilled. How Silly. Every major Apple hardware and software upgrade as well as every new-to-market product that Apple introduces is heavily patented on several fronts. Sneakily, today's patent application is technically a fulfilled patent. It's the patent that covers Apple's all-new 2010 touch-centric iPod nano. And, the patent may actually foretell of a new touch control being considered. For you patent sleuths, dig in!
On December 30, 2010, the last patent application session for 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals the next chapter for their social networking app related to shopping. The patent details how shoppers will be able to communicate with their friends about items that they seek feedback on. Users will be able to send their friend's photos or videos of items to view so that their feedback could be specific. Additionally, some consumers will be able to communicate with the salespeople of their favorite stores so as to ensure that the items that they're seeking to purchase are firstly in stock and secondly available to put aside in a dressing room ready for them to try out at a specific date and time.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 20 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second patent report of the day, we cover Apple being granted patents for their photo-centric Aperture application and a key on-chip decompression engine likely related to their A4 processor. Yet the main patent within this group goes to one that covers new integrated touch screen technology that was only filed for in March. It's nice to see that Apple keeps pushing their high-end multi-touch screen technology to new heights.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 20 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our first patent report of the day, we cover Apple winning design patents for their iPod Classic, the nano and for an iPhone with a strange square Home Button. Yet the winner in this group today, without a doubt, is finding the Great Faked-Out iPod rotary iPhone patent that was used during Steve Jobs keynote of 2007. Yes, The Great One actually has a sense of humor.
While Apple was undergoing their "Antennagate" moment earlier this year, Apple's engineers were long at work on a new kind of antenna which Apple dubs the "logo antenna." This new antenna is to hide behind the famous Apple logo thereby allowing it to gain a stronger signal without intervening metal or other conductive housing walls interfering. It's interesting to note that this is Apple's third telephonic Macbook related patent in the second half of 2010 and would all but confirm this is a definite trend Apple is focused on. And lastly, it should be noted that Apple foresees the logo antenna working itself down into miniatures and wearables such as wrist watches and pendants. It appears that Apple may have another winning invention on their hands.
A new patent application of Apple's surfaced this morning that generally relates to display devices and, more specifically, is focused on providing developers with a means of pre-testing a fully functional software package for a new display standard before the hardware is introduced to market. If Apple is going through all this trouble of assisting developers test for a new display standard, wouldn't that mean that there's a new display standard is in the works?
On December 22, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's latest trademark applications for "Express Lane" and "VoicePass." The six Apple Support Service related trademark filings were submitted under the International Classes 37, 41 and 42 which are detailed in this report. Technically, a quick check at the US Trademark Office shows that neither trademark has been taken thus far despite some companies having used these marks in the past.
A company by the name of Hybrid Audio LLC has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, HTC, Exedea and Dell in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas. The lawsuit claims that Apple's iPod Nano, iPhone 4, iPad, MacBook Pro and the iTunes service are in violation of Hybrid Audio's patent which is supposedly related to the MP3 standard.
Yesterday, The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 12 newly granted patents for Apple, and one of them caught my curiosity. The patent is for updatable menu items. It's a sleeper feature that packs a lot of punch. Whether this patent's potential is ever unlocked is in the air at the moment. It could very well remain a mundane feature or Apple could decide to unplug it. I'm hoping for the latter.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 12 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Some of the minor patents issued today covered Time Machine, which may come in handy in Apple's current patent infringement case, and a design patent which relates to Apple's Mail app. Yet the notables within today's group of granted patents include strategically important iPhone/Multi-Touch patents which will definitely add to Apple's smartphone war chest.
In September Apple was granted a mysterious patent concerning an Improved Laminate Composite material. Today we see that this new laminate composite could be playing a part in a new lighter and more flexible material that could end up in future generations of Apple's iPad in addition to new accessories like headphones and folio-styled cases. Apple's patent intrigues us with rich details about their new 3D knitting process that will produce these next generation materials. It's unknown at this time if Apple will use the lower cost material for entry units alone while retaining aluminum for their higher end units. However, considering that Apple likes to provide consumers with free engraving on such portables during the holiday season, I can't see this being extended to fiber based materials. Then again, time will tell. Update: Another patent has been added to this report that may point to an interesting twist to a future iPad.
In September of this year Apple introduced us to a new Spiral based iTunes UI and provided us with a nice overview. Today, Apple opens the gate wide open and shows us that the new Spiral interface is to replace their current Cover Flow in iTunes. The new design will work with both standard and Multi-Touch displays and is likely earmarked for OS X Lion due out next summer. The new user interface will look really cool on Apple's iPad for the latter half of 2011. Major Update Dec. 17, 2010 2:35 PM: We've just added a Spiral's-like demo to our report that works nicely with Photos. You just might want to check it out!
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of nineteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Within this second round of notables we point to Apple winning a series of patents relating to the iPhone and iTunes, an additonal two patents covering Apple's Time Machine backup software and perhaps the most important of all in this lot, is one relating to 3G ready iOS devices utilizing RF Pulse Synchronization in conjunction with GSM. Although it may be considered a little nerdy, it's also vital telephonic related technology like this that Apple may find handy in their current and/or future smartphone battles. In fact, it's been rumored that Apple is trying to gain some of Nortel's patents at this very moment. The battle for LTE hasn't even begun yet and Apple is out to acquire some of these vital patents to support their future LTE based iPhones and other future devices.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of nineteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Within this first round of notables we point to Apple winning a design patent for their older iPod's outer casings, another patent covering the Mac's unique translucent and auto-timing windowing system for such things as sound and brightness and lastly, and perhaps more importantly, Apple has been granted a patent for a new light display. This new display technology could be one of the keys of pushing the iPad further into the enterprise market.
The iPhone's updated 5 megapixel camera includes a feature called High Dynamic Range or HDR. According to Apple, the iPhone's HDR feature when activated, takes a series of three photos, each with different exposure levels. The iPhone then layers the shots together to create a single sharp photo. In a patent application published earlier this week, we find Apple working on a similar type of feature, except this time around, it's about how the iPhone's camera will deal with blurry photo shots. Other patents disclosed in our report today cover how the iPhone deals with vignetting effects and how it uses a "skin-tone-mask" to avoid over exposed photos. In total, there were ten camera related patents published this week alone which marks the importance that Apple is placing on cameras within the context of the greater iOS device revolution.
Out of some forty Apple patent filings published yesterday, we see that Apple pushed through nine that were related to geo-location and the electronic compass technologies behind it. Apple is constantly improving the iPhone's magnometer and other related sensors to help us now and in the future. Apple introduces us to one application dedicated to improving our road trip experiences with information about facilities and attractions that are "just ahead" of us so that we won't miss a thing. Apple understands that the iPhone will be used on foot, in cars, on bikes and boats, and they're making sure that their geo-location services will work to our benefit. It began last week when we discovered that Apple was working on new interactive radio mapping functionality for the iPhone - and this week we see that their work is once again pushing the envelope. That's what The Crazy Ones do.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published over 40 new Apple patent applications today. One of the themes that emerged was that of expanding Apple's VoiceOver capabilities to assist those that are visually challenged along with the expansion of contextual voice commands that could find their way into future iOS based apps like GPS and video games.
On December 9, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals various concepts behind a newly advanced system for purchasing apps at Apple's App Store or future Mac App Store. It all begins by sharing your app with others effortlessly. The patent provides us with a scenario of how this system will work in the real world while covering the overall system – which includes a new and all important Application Seed methodology. Testing and buying future apps using this methodology will allow more of us to experiment with smaller and perhaps unknown apps while it not costing us a dime. That's simply ingenious: That's simply Apple.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 16 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include two patents relating to the iTunes Store's advance purchasing system, another for a cooling apparatus used in the Mac Pro and another for an iPod armband. Yet beyond those are the more important patents that relate to Apple's iPad Dock design and a vital Multi-Touch patent that could assist Apple in future legal battles.
A new patent application from Apple was published yesterday by the US Patent and Trademark Office which covers Apple's intentions of finally bringing radio to the iPhone via AM, FM and Satellite signals. Apple being Apple, we could always expect something different, and in this case they're thinking of introducing us to a unique radio station mapping function that acts as an alternative to a straight scrolling list of radio stations. This could actually be very handy when you're on the road as opposed to being at home where a list is just fine. On the road, instead of using your in-vehicle radio roaming feature to find new stations, the proposed iPhone radio station mapping app would simply layout the stations visually for you to choose from - all at one time. It's a quick and easier solution. Apple's patent also hints of releasing a radio peripheral card for MacBooks.
A whopping 23 patent applications of Apple's were published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office and while many of them were sleepers, there were a few that were especially notable. One that might be of interest to you this day involves a future iPhone service that would actually allow you to play games or even work while being put on hold at a call center without ever losing your position in the queue. Who knew that being put on hold could be so much fun?
Apple first introduced us to their iTravel App in April of this year which packed quite the punch. In July, Apple followed up with two new iTravel services relating to Airline and hotel services and the travel industry went wild on this news. Today, Apple's next iTravel direction takes us to the cruise line industry. Apple knows that researching and putting together a cruise itinerary could be a daunting experience for consumers. Trying to figure out where to go, what excursions and/or off-shore activities to take or sifting through an endless list of cruise line services, could be intimidating. Planning a cruise with Apple's iTravel for cruise lines will greatly simplify that process from pre-cruise to post-cruise. Apple's future iTravel app will take advantage of NFC and location based technologies to enhance your cruise line experience with such services as social networking, interactive ship maps, the ability to purchase onboard tickets to shows or restaurants and even to act as a universal remote to control in-cabin electronics and climate control. Apple's latest patent even surprises us with a very strong hint of providing a future iPhone with a pico projector so as to possibly enhance your travel experience by being able to show off your excursion iMovies to an audience.
One of the surprise patents of the week came in the form of a granted patent. The surprise is that the patent went under the radar as an application so as to keep it from being publicized. We now learn that Apple has a new power and data transfer system in the works and it'll likely come in the form of an upgraded version of MagSafe. The patent was originally filed a year prior to Intel announcing that they were working on a next generation I/O called Light Peak. For all intents and purposes, this seems to be the patent to confirm that Apple had this technology well under development prior to Light Peak's announcement. At the end of the day, the new I/O promises us a means of rapidly recharging our mobile devices while wildly-accelerating our data transfers.