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December 2011

Patently Apple Wishes You a Happy 2012!

1.1 Happy 2012
While we look back one more time at 2011 to say farewell to the Great Steve Jobs, we boldly go into 2012 with a revitalized and energized determination to make the coming year one of the very best. Patently Apple wishes our guests, friends and industry colleagues a healthy and Happy New Year! For our fans and colleagues around the world: Bonne Annee! Glückliches neues Jahr! Buon Anno! Feliz Año Nuevo! Feliz Año Novo! Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! Godt Nyttår! Godt Nytår! Gott Nytt År! Onnellista Uutta Vuotta! 新年快! 新年快樂! 새해 많이 받으세요! С Новым годом! Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku! 明けましておめでとうございます!


Apple Invents New Laser System & Ready to Move to IGZO Displays

1.1 - Apple invents laser system, move to IGZO Displays
It was revealed yesterday by the USPTO that Apple has invented a new laser beam focus system that is used on their production lines overseas. Apple's passion for detail drove them to invent their own laser beam calibration system so as to get their spot-welds just perfect. Would we expect anything less from Apple? And on another front this morning, we learn that Apple may shift from IPS to IGZO displays in 2012. A 32" HDTV prototype using IGZO was demonstrated in Japan in October – which may explain one of Apple's motivators for shifting to IGZO displays.  

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Apple's Revolutionary Smart Bezel Project Gains a New Chapter

1 - Apple's Revolutionary Smart Bezel Project Gains a New Chapter
On the last patent application day of the year, the USPTO revealed a real treat for us. It appears that Apple has added yet another dynamic new chapter to their ongoing smart bezel project; a project that has the potential of taking Apple's iDevices to the next level. It could, without a doubt, revolutionize Apple's entire tablet-based line-up in the blink of an eye. The idea revealed in today's patent application is to advance iOS devices with a new live interface that is referred to as the Multi-Modal Human Interface. The new user interface is powered by a new engine that is able to detect environmental conditions and change the operational interactivity options for users so as to maximize the iDevice's usefulness - automatically. It's also designed to reduce power drainage so that devices could be up and running longer. One example provided for in Apple's documentation is an iPad shutting down the standard iOS UI automatically in favor of one that is driven by a voice and speech recognition UI while the user is driving. This is certainly another natural avenue for Apple's Siri. Yet, in the big picture, the smart bezel project is all about advancing the usability of future iOS devices on multiple levels. It's a project that demonstrates that Apple's leadership in all-things-tablets is based on driving the boundaries of true innovation to market and in the faces of their never ending competition. And on that note, I say Cheers to the Crazy Ones of Cupertino!  

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Apple Envisions Face & Presence Detection Security for iOS Devices

1 - Apple envisions face, Presence detection security for iOS devices
On December 29, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for device security. In 2009, Apple's presence detection patent first came to light in relation to future MacBooks. Then in November of this year, Apple revealed a heavy duty 3D face and object recognition system that could be used for home and enterprise security applications. In today's revelations, Apple introduces us to a more down to earth and practical security system for our portable devices. For simple home or personal use, the system could be setup to recognize your presence and face to quickly turn on your device. This would bypass the need for entering a password or even having to touch the home button to get to your homepage. For use at work, the facial recognition system could be set to higher levels of security. All in all it sounds like a very promising security system is in our future.  

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Apple Adds another Core iPhone Multitouch Patent to their Arsenal

1 - Apple, core multitouch patent 2011
On December twentieth, The Washington Post reported that "Apple Inc. won a patent-infringement ruling that bans some HTC Corp. smartphones from the U.S. starting next year, bolstering efforts to prove that devices running Google Inc.'s Android operating system copy the iPhone." And today, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published yet another core iPhone multitouch victory for Apple that will bolster their legal arsenal. This particular multitouch related patent focuses on the oscillator signal and circuit, which are central to sensing a touch event on a touch display. And Finally, we add a Classic Photo collage of Steve Jobs introducing the revolutionary iPhone at Macworld in January 2007. These are images that are seared into most of our memories of Steve.  

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Apple Wins Patents for Photo Booth and a Major Fitness Center App

1 - Apple Wins Patents for Photo Booth and a Major Fitness Center App
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of eighteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our first patent report of the day we mainly cover two of these patents. The first one relates to Apple's first win for their entertaining Photo Booth application while the other covers a major fitness center application. To close off our report, we also cover two of Apple's latest design patent wins and briefly cover eight other interesting patents in our Final Patent Round Up section. 

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Apple is Granted 12 Design Patents in China and More

1 - Apple is Granted 12 Design Patents in China and More
On December 23, 2011, Apple filed for the trademark and icon for "Available on the App Store" under applications 302118690 in China and 010520054 in Europe. Apple has filed their trademark under three International Classes covering such things as advertising and marketing services, downloadable computer software accessible via the internet and software for gaming and virtual reality. Additionally, Apple has been granted twelve design patents in China covering the iPad dock and many iPad 2 components. 

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Wishing You the Best this Holiday Season

3.1 - Christmas Wishes 2011 from Patently Apple
Patently Apple would like to wish you and yours the very best this holiday season. This is the one time of year where we get to thank our fans, friends and colleagues for their continuing support throughout the year. While it's fun digging into Apple's patents each week in search of future features and secrets – we must never forget to slow down during the holiday season and be grateful for our health and loved ones. Being that many of you will be in transit over the next week to be with family and friends, we thought it only right to get our message out to you before your departure. Cheers! – from Patently Apple.


The Race is on for Next Generation Fuel Cell Powered Devices

1 - The Race is on for Next Generation Fuel Cell Powered Devices
On December 22, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a pair of patent applications from Apple that reveal greater detailing of their next generation Fuel Cell project. The new fuel cells will one day power both iOS and OS X portable devices like the iPhone and MacBook for days, if not weeks at a time. In October we covered Apple's first patent on fuel cell technology in respect to fuel cell plates. Today's patents provide us with greater detail of their fuel cell technology project that even considers implementing MagSafe as a key connector for fuel cell recharging between an iOS device like the iPhone and a MacBook. The race is on to bring next generation fuel cell technology to future portable devices and it appears that Apple may be on the verge of a major breakthrough on this front.  

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Apple Files for "Magnetic Timeline" Trademark

1 - Apple files for Magnetic Timeline TM
The US Patent & Trademark Office has published Apple's latest trademark application for "Magnetic Timeline" under application 85492953. Apple's trademark relates to their revolutionary video editing tool that debuted with their all new Final Cut Pro X Application in June 2011. At that time, Academy Award-winning film Editor Angus Wall is quoted as stating that he was "blown away by what Apple has done with Final Cut Pro." Obviously with something this revolutionary, Apple needed to protect it accordingly. Click here for more details on Apple's Magnetic Timeline feature.

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Apple Wins Patent for iPhone GUI Supporting Application Switching during a Call and More

1 - Apple patent, iphone GUI supporting application switching
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of eight newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. This morning's report mainly focuses in on two of these patents. The first one focuses in on one of Apple's original iPhone patents that relate to the user interface supporting application switching while still on a call. The second patent noted in our report covers a design win for Apple's second generation iPod shuffle which credits Steve Jobs as one of the designers. In our report's Final Round-Up section, you'll find patents relating to such topics as a developer computer for testing out iPhone apps and another one covering Apple's microperforated backlit display system which produces the illuminated Apple logo found on today's MacBook lineup. 

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The iPad's Smart Cover Patent has insightfully come to Light

1 - Cover - The iPad's Smart Cover Patent has Insightfully Come to Light
Sneaky Apple originally filed their Smart Cover product patent in Canada one year ago this month. It has only recently come to light for public viewing. The credit for the Smart Cover actually goes to Jony Ive's team of designers and engineers. While surprising, it only makes sense. The precision and coherence of the design could have only come from a detailed professional like Jony Ive. Although most of us know what the Smart Cover is, the patent actually surprised me with two new scenarios for using the Smart Cover. Neither had ever even crossed my mind. Those, along with a few other insightful twists, made the discovery of this Smart Cover patent in Canada all the sweeter.  

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Apple's New Backlit Etching Process for Keyboards & Far Beyond

1 - Apple's New backlit etching process for keyboards & far beyond
Apple's design and engineering teams have come up with a new way of creating and manufacturing backlit keyboards using a variety of lasers including ultraviolet laser, a green laser, a YAG laser and others depending on the desired size and shape of the graphic that Apple is trying to achieve. The process of creating the right effect will also employ the use of exotic paints such as titanium dioxide-loaded paint, a latex-based paint, a rubber-based paint, a plastic paint, and so on. While Apple illustrates that the new backlit etchings could be used in creating a future desktop keyboard, they also make it clear that the process could be used to create designs, logos, borders and more on iOS devices, televisions, mice, home electronics and far beyond. I'm sure that this process could be used in creating a very cool TV remote – but that's a story for another day.  

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Apple Shares their Vision for a New Kind of Smart Kiosk

1 - Apple shares their vision for a new kind of smart kiosk
Every once in a while we get a rare treat and get to read about Apple's vision for something new they're working on. Today it's about a new smart kiosk. Although Apple has been kicking this concept around for some time now in regards to an iTunes based Kiosk or even an iCard & Gift kiosk, I think that this time around they may have hit the right market nerve. Apple's latest in-store kiosk may reside in an Apple Store or another retailer like Best Buy. The idea is simple. You have a new iOS device and you want to find the right accessories or apps for it. You wander into a store with an Apple Kiosk and connect your device to the kiosk which uses a new determination server that will check out your device and lists recommendations. If you're searching for something specific you'll be able to narrow down your search for something like speakers or headsets. One could easily see how Apple could sneak Siri into this kind of device one day to simply dazzle the consumer. This could be the perfect way to introduce Siri to the general public and that's why I think Apple's vision for the perfect kiosk may have finally arrived.  

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Apple Reveals the Mac Mini from Design to Removable Hard Drive

1 - Apple Reveals the Mac Mini from Design to Removable Hard Drive
On December 15, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of six patent applications from Apple that reveal everything you ever wanted to know about the Mac Mini but were afraid to ask. Apple's main patent describes the aesthetically pleasing Mac Mini, simply referred to in the patent as a "small form factor desktop computer." The other patents within this group describe the Mac Mini's cooling system, internal electronics, manufacturing fixtures and removable hard drive. In fact they describe the latter as being an easy-to-remove hard drive which may be of interest to some. And lastly, we cover a new patent application from Apple that reveals the assembly of the fifth generation iPod nano. It was only filed four months ago which begs the question: Why? 

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Apple to Significantly Surpass Ultrabook Display Resolutions in 2012

1 - Apple to surpass ultrabook display resolutions in 2012
In June of this year, Intel provided their developers with a peak at their Ultrabook roadmap that was clearly aimed at taking on Apple's MacBook lineup, specifically the MacBook Air. Of course Apple is going to remain a moving target and this morning we see how they're moving on one such front. According to DigiTimes, Apple is likely to launch their MacBook Pro with a display resolution of 2880 by 1800 in the second quarter of 2012, setting a new round of competition for panel specifications in the notebook industry.  

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Apple Wins New Telephonic MacBook & Magic Mouse Patents

1 - Apple Wins New Telephonic MacBook & Magic Mouse Patents
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-three newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second and final granted patent report of the day we focus in on Apple's second Magic Mouse patent victory and their sixth win towards their future Telephonic MacBook. In our June 2011 report covering Intel's IDF titled "Intel, Apple & the Transformation of the PC," we covered Intel's focus on their all new Ultrabook PC category. One of the key attributes coming to Ultrabooks appeared in their slides relating to phase-two and three of their Ultrabook architecture; these next generation Ultrabooks would always be on and always be connected. Obviously Intel is planning to integrate 4G into their Ultrabooks in the not-too-distant future and this is why the Telephonic MacBook will be a reality. It's not a matter of if but rather when.  

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Apple Wins Multiple Design Patents and one for a New Camera Control

1 - Apple Wins Multiple Design Wins and One for a New Camera Control
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-three newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our first of two reports covering today's granted patents, we cover one of Apple's latest patent wins for a camera control that only came to light as a patent application late last week and also take a look at three of Apple's new design wins and question whether changes are needed to better protect design patents in the future. 

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Apple Pounds out a New Round of Camera Related Patents

1 - Apple Pounds out a New Round of Camera Related Patents
Late last week the US Patent & Trademark Office published another round of patent applications from Apple that relate to cameras. In today's report we touch on all five of these new camera related inventions that cover such matters as adaptive lens shading correction, new flash exposure controls and more. Apple has been pushing iOS camera capabilities each and every time a new version of the iPhone debuts. Earlier this quarter we posted a report covering two of their latest patented technologies, and today's round of patents raises Apple's camera patent count to twenty for 2011 alone. There's also good news on the iOS camera front for 2012. Apple's iOS cameras will be supporting new advancements such as dynamic contrast enhancements, image sensor compensation and much, much more. These advancements were revealed in a new presentation slide from Imagination Technologies this month. Imagination Technologies is the company behind the graphics processor found in iOS devices today. 

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Apple Files for "iTunes Match" & "AirDrop" Trademarks

1 - Apple files for iTunes Match & AirDrop Trademarks
The US Patent & Trademark Office has published Apple's latest trademark application for "iTunes Match" under application 85487574. Apple has filed their trademark under four distinct International Classes covering such areas as telecom services, entertainment, computer software, and most importantly, "customized music playlists based on user preferences determined from an analysis of the user's existing media library." Apple has also filed a service mark application for their AirDrop logo. The illustrated logo accompanying their filing is massive. 

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Apple Patent Discusses FaceTime Advancements in the Works

1 - Cover - Apple patent, improvement to FaceTime in the works
One of the forty patent applications that were published by the US Patent & Trademark Office for Apple this past week focused on advancing FaceTime conferencing. Years ago, the vast majority of video conferences were conducted in controlled studios or conference rooms designed with specialty lighting for optimal viewing. Today that's all changed; the vast majority of video conferences are done on the fly, on the go, in a meeting, in a park, in your car, in a lobby or in your home office where lighting conditions could be insufficient or constantly changing. The standard Auto Exposure (or AE) features found in most mobile phones today weren't designed to adapt to those kinds of quickly changing lighting environments for mobile video conferences. Apple's invention illustrates the intent is to go far beyond the auto exposure standards of today to deliver a solid solution to this problem.  

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Apple Patent Shows Apple Fighting Grime: Die-Die-Die!

1 - Apple Patent shows Apple fighting Grime - Die Die Die
Yesterday, US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a rather inventive idea of fighting grime on your iOS Devices. We were the first to reveal Apple's initial patent on this subject in August that focused on using a vaporizing method involving a physical vapor deposition chamber. In Apple's latest method, they reveal an alternate method of fighting grime that uses mechanical wave mechanisms that could use audio or physical vibrations. The interesting fact is that Apple has expedited this patent application which was only filed seven months ago. Apple is apparently out to fight grime on all iOS devices in the future, and before you know it, they'll be called the Grime Busters! That's right: Who ya gonna call? Grime Busters!  

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Apple Shows us Just How Cool Future iOS Devices Could Be

1 - Apple Shows us Just How Cool Future iOS Devices Could Be
On December 8, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published several patent applications from Apple that reveal their work on cooling down the exterior of their entire mobile device lineup from iPad to MacBook. Metal exteriors obviously get hotter than other substrates and Apple's latest round of inventions touch on creating "monitoring thermal zones" within each device that could drop the internal temperature as required to keep the exterior cool to the touch. This is also important because heat affects the accuracy of the gyroscope found in all iOS devices. On that point, Apple is shown to have reengineered their gyro so that it'll run cooler in the future. While we all know that Apple offers some of the coolest mobile devices in world today, Apple is now forecasting that they'll have even cooler devices in the future, literally. 

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Apple Provides a Rare Look at their iOS Sensor Testing Equipment

1 - Apple Provides a Rare Look at their iOS Sensor Testing Equipment
Just a few weeks ago we posted a special report that was all about Apple's secretive yet Magical Design Studio. In that report we also covered Ive's new toy that would assist Apple's design team in prototyping complicated wireless antenna-sets. If that wasn't enough, today we're treated to a little more of that behind-the-scenes magic. This time, we're able to review two of Apple's latest inventions that relate to testing sophisticated sensor-sets that go into every iOS device before shipping. The sensor-set includes accelerometers, multi-axis motion sensors, gyroscopes and many more. The new testing equipment carefully analyzes these sensors to ensure that they leave the factory properly calibrated. It's rare that we get a glimpse into how Apple manufactures their products, but the detailing of these new inventions does just that. 

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Apple to Advance Audio Quality in iPhone & Add Phone to iPad

1 - Apple to Advance Audio Quality in iPhone & Add Phone to iPad
On December 8, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published well over 40 patent applications from Apple in a single day. In our first report of the day, we focus on several patents that cover the advancement of audio quality in future iPhones. Specifically, the main patent covers an advanced noise suppression system that will be welcomed. Many times I've spoken to people calling me on their iPhone and sometimes I've been able to hear the person next to them speaking as clearly as I could hear them. That's not exactly the way it's supposed to work. Apple's newly proposed audio advancement system is likely to put that issue to rest while advancing iPhone audio quality overall. The last tidbit of information derived from this group of patents was rather a bit of a surprise. Apple revealed the use of a speakerphone feature on a future iPad - and that could be a new killer app in the making. While we could hope for this to roll out next year, we must always remember that technology revealed in a patent application could take more time to work through the system than we'd like. On the other hand, let's hope that Apple doesn't tease us with this for too long! 

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