The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 17 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. This morning's report highlights a series of patents covering a wide swath of technologies including multipass video encoding to a service provider activation policy to a backlight and ambient light sensor system and a Cover Flow related patent. Yet the two key patent wins of the day definitely go to those relating to Multi-Touch Sensors and Surfaces; patents that will provide current and future iOS devices with ongoing protection. Most of today's patents are considered patents fulfilled.
Apple Wins a Patent Relating to Multi-Touch Sensors
Apple's newly granted patent generally relates to touch sensor panels. In particular it relates to a touch controller for a touch sensor panel that improves charge handling capability, noise immunity, and a smaller footprint.
About Apple's Patent Figures: FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary single-ended analog front end, with a transimpedance amplifier (TIA), a bandpass filter (BPF), a anti-aliasing filter (AAF) and an analog-to-digital converter (ADC); FIG. 8 illustrates an exemplary bandpass filter in an analog front end; and FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary anti-aliasing filter in an analog front end.
Apple's patent abstract: A controller for a touch sensor includes a transimpedance amplifier, and a feedback resistor coupled to an input of the transimpedance amplifier and to an output of the transimpedance amplifier. At least one multiplexor may be coupled to the input of the transimpedance amplifier and configured to multiplex a plurality of analog inputs to one dedicated channel. The controller may further include a bandpass filter coupled to the output of the transimpedance amplifier. The output of the bandpass filter may be input to an anti-aliasing filter, which feeds into an analog to digital converter. Alternatively, the output of the bandpass filter may be input to a sigma-delta analog to digital converter.
To review Apple's 28 patent claims and invention detailing, see granted patent 8,031,094. Apple credits Steven Hotelling and Christoph Krah the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q3 2009. The history of the patent however goes back much further. One referenced date is 2001 with Wayne Westerman as inventor. Wayne Westerman came over to Apple when they purchased Fingerworks.
Apple Wins a Patent for a Multi-Touch Surface Stackup Arrangement
Apple has won another iOS device related patent which describes covers for electronic devices, and more particularly, to a cover that is able to provide light-transmissive apertures required for various sensors and display devices in an electronic device, while hiding them from the user to provide a seamless, uncluttered visual appearance.
Apple's First Patent Claim: A cover having one or more light-transmissive apertures for one or more devices below the cover, comprising: a substantially transparent structural layer; a substantially transparent outside hardcoat affixed to an outside-facing surface of the structural layer; infrared (IR) transmissive ink affixed to an inside-facing surface of the structural layer for giving the cover a uniform appearance; an opaque mask layer affixed to an inside-facing surface of the IR transmissive ink, the mask layer having one or more first openings substantially aligned with one or more first devices, the IR transmissive ink hiding the one or more first openings; and a backside hardcoat affixed to the mask layer, the backside hardcoat and the outside hardcoat having similar or identical coefficients of thermal expansion to minimize warpage of the cover.
To review Apple's other 36 patent claims and invention detailing, see granted patent 8,031,174. Apple credits Mark Hamblin and Richard Dinh as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q1 2007.
Apple Wins a Patent for Automated Creation of Media Asset Illustrations
Apple has been granted a patent that relates to automated creation of media asset illustrations. As you could see below, it directly relates to what we've known to be called Cover Flow.
Apple technically states that their invention pertains to techniques for creating media asset illustrations for media assets. The created media asset illustrations are useful for media assets that lack associated media asset illustrations. The techniques could analyze media asset data or media asset metadata when creating the create media asset illustrations. The created media asset illustrations could, for example, be used while playing, browsing or displaying associated media assets.
To review Apple's 19 patent claims and invention detailing, see granted patent 8,032,565. Apple credits Imran Chaudhri; as the sole inventor of this patent which was filed in Q1 2010 – though it dates back to 2007.
Apple Wins a Patent for a Device with an Illuminable Portion
Apple has won a patent for an active enclosure which covers devices with an illuminable portion. The illuminated portion of a device extends to Apple's original iMac, MacBooks and other devices with an illuminated logo. Apple's granted patent even covers LED lighting built into a computer's enclosure as patent FIG. 40 indicates.
To review Apple's 20 patent claims and invention detailing, see granted patent 8,029,166. Apple credits Duncan Kerr and Steve Hotelling as the inventors of this patent which was filed in Q3 2009 though dates all the way back to Q2 2001.
Other Granted Patents Published Today
Granted Patent 8,031,864: Dual-Purpose Hardware Aperture: Apple's invention provides a system which supports a dual-purpose aperture for an electronic device. This system includes a first component configured to perform an acoustic function through the aperture and a second component configured to perform a non-acoustic function through the aperture.
Granted Patent 8,031,164: Backlight and ambient light sensor system: Apple's patent covers apparatuses and methods relating the operation of a device's display. In some embodiments, a method includes receiving a user setting of a display control parameter, and altering, based on the user setting, an effect of an ambient light sensor value (ALS) on control of the display control parameter. It also includes receiving a change to one of a display brightness output level and an ambient light sensor output level, and altering, according to the change, a display contrast output level. In some embodiments, a method of operating a proximity sensor of an electronic device includes receiving a light sensor output, and altering, according to the output, an on/off setting of a proximity sensor.
Granted Patent 8,032,181: Service Provider Activation with Subscriber Identity Module Policy: Apple's patent covers systems and methods for activating a mobile device for use with a service provider. In one exemplary method, a mobile device having a currently inserted SIM card may be prepared for activation using a signing process in which an activation server generates a signed activation ticket encoded with SIM policy data that corresponds to the combination of the device and one of a number of SIM cards belonging to a set of SIM cards defined by the SIM policy data. The activation ticket is securely stored on the mobile device. In another exemplary method the mobile device may be activated in an activation process in which the device verifies an activation ticket against information specific to the device and SIM card in accordance with the SIM policy in the activation ticket, and initiates activation when the verification of the activation ticket is successful.
Granted Patent 8,031,777: Multipass video encoding and rate control using subsampling of frames: Apple's invention generally relates to video encoders. More specifically, the present invention provides multipass encoding of a video sequence without encoding the entire video sequence on each pass.
Some of the Other Granted Patents published today include RE42,779 Apparatus and Method for Handling Digital Image Data [Camera Related]: 8,032,673 Transaction ID Filtering for Buffered Programmed Input/Output (PIO) Write Acknowledgements; 8,032,672 Increased Speed of Processing of Audio Samples Received over a Serial Communications Link by use of Channel Map and Steering Table: 8,032,371 Determining Scale Factor Values in Encoding Audio Data with AAC; and finally, 8,032,670 Method and Apparatus for Generating DMA Transfers to Memory.
Today is the big day when the next generation iPhone rolls out and it's bound to be exciting. I wish Tim Cook all the best in his first keynote as Apple's new CEO.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.