Apple Opens iTunes Store in China & Early iPhone Rumors Dashed
Apple's Retina Display Patent Comes to Light

Apple Files Patents for GarageBand, Multiple Camera Sensors & New Optical Display Coatings

1. Apple files patents for garageband, multiple camera sensors & new optical display coatings
On June 28, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published patent applications from Apple covering GarageBand, multiple camera sensors for iDevices, new optical display coatings and more. The US Patent Office has yet to publish the patent graphics for the patents we cover today. When they do, we'll update our report accordingly. Apple's dearth of patent applications now runs five straight weeks. Where oh where are Apple's talented engineers of late? This is the longest running patent drought since Patently Apple has covered Apple's patents.


Apple's Music Patent Background


Electronic systems for musical input or musical performance often fail to simulate accurately the experience of playing a real musical instrument. For example, by attempting to simulate the manner in which a user interacts with a piano keyboard, systems often require the user to position their fingers in the shapes of piano chords. Such requirements create many problems. First, not all users know how to form piano chords. Second, users who do know how to form piano chords find it difficult to perform the chords on the systems, because the systems lack tactile stimulus, which guides the user's hands on a real piano. For example, on a real piano a user can feel the cracks between the keys and the varying height of the keys, but on an electronic system, no such textures exist. These problems lead to frustration and make the systems less useful, less enjoyable, and less popular. Therefore, a need exists for a system that strikes a balance between simulating a traditional musical instrument and providing an optimized user interface that allows effective musical input and performance.


Apple's Proposed Solution


Apple's patent generally relates to systems, methods, and products for musical performance and/or musical input that solve or mitigate many of the problems of prior art systems. A user interface can present one or more regions corresponding to related notes and/or chords. A user can interact with the regions in various ways to sound the notes and/or chords.


In addition, other user interactions can modify or mute the notes or chords. A set of related chords and/or a set of rhythmic patterns can be generated based on a selected instrument and a selected style of music. The chords can be related according to various musical theories. For example, the chords can be diatonic chords for a particular key. Some embodiments also allow a plurality of systems to communicatively couple and synchronize. These embodiments allow a plurality of users to input and/or perform music together.


2. Apple GarageBand UI's for Chords & Notes


Apple's patent FIG. 1 shows a schematic illustration of a chord view while patent FIG. 2 depicts a schematic illustration of a notes view.  


Apple's patent application was originally filed in Q4 2010 by inventors Alexander Little and Eli Manjarrez. For more information, check out Apple's music system patent. Patent images may be presented later today when the USPTO makes them available.


Patent Number Two: Optical Coating for Electronic Device Display


Apple's Abstract: An optical coating includes multiple layers of different materials and thicknesses and is disposed proximate a transparent display cover for an electronic device display. The optical coating transmits most visible light, reflects most non-visible light and substantially absorbs blackbody radiation generated from within the electronic device. The optical coating can be readily removable from the electronic device display either alone or in combination with a removable transparent display cover. The multiple layers comprise two or more materials having alternating low and high indices of refraction, and can include 36 or more layers, each having a thickness ranging from 10 to 400 nanometers. The arrangement and thicknesses of the layers are designed based upon the thickness and optical properties of the transparent display cover.


3. Apple's Patent Covers Optical Coatings for iDevices


Apple's patent FIG. 4A illustrates an exemplary specialized ART optical coating for devices such as Apple's iPad. As shown, optical coating 424 can be situated atop or otherwise proximate to a display cover 422.  The optical coating can be comprised of numerous thin layers, ranging in thickness from about 10 to about 400 nanometers. Each layer can be comprised of a material having a high or low index of refraction, and the layers are preferably interleaved or alternated between high and low indices of refraction. Preferably, desirable wavelengths of light are transmitted through optical coating while unwanted wavelengths are reflected away from the optical coating, similar to that which occurs for a "hot mirror." Apple's patent FIG. 4B illustrates in partial side cross-sectional view the exemplary optical coating of FIG. 4A as transmitting a visible light wavelength and reflecting an infrared light wavelength.


Apple's patent application was originally filed in Q4 2010 by inventors Liang; Frank F.; (San Jose, CA) ; Mort; Phillip L.; (Santa Clara, CA) ; Heresztyn; Amaury J.; (Cupertino, CA) ; Nigen; Jay S.; (Mountain View, CA) ; Prakash; Simon; (Los Gatos, CA) ; Ternus; John P.; (Redwood City, CA). For more information, see Apple's patent covering a new optical display coating.


Patent Number Three: Electronic Device with Two Image Sensors


Apple's Patent Abstract: Apple's patent relates to their iOS device cameras. According to Apple, "an electronic device for producing an image of an object is disclosed. The electronic device may include a black-and-white camera having a first sensor area configured to receive luma data pertaining to the object. The first sensor area may correspond to a first pixel array, the luma data associated with the first pixel array. The electronic device may also include a color camera having a second sensor area configured to receive chroma data pertaining to the object. The second sensor area may correspond to a second pixel array. The chroma data may be associated with the second pixel array. The electronic device may also include first logic configured to correlate pixels in the first pixel array with locations on the second sensor area."


4. Apple's patent covers macbooks & iDevices designed with B W & Color Image Sensors


Apple's patent FIG. 2A illustrates a schematic representation of an electronic device, including a black-and-white camera and a color camera; patent FIG. 2B illustrates a schematic representation of a block diagram of an imaging system of the electronic device illustrated in the example of FIG. 2A,including a first sensor area, a second sensor area, and a computing/logic unit.


Apple's patent application was originally filed in Q4 2011 by inventors Michael Culbert and Chris Ligtenberg. For more information, see Apple's patent covering iDevice cameras with two image sensors.


Patent Number Four: Using Statistical Language Models for Contextual Lookup


Apple's Patent Abstract: Using a statistical language model to make information related to a word or other content of interest available is disclosed. An indication that a word or phrase is of interest is received. A contextual meta-information associated with the word or phrase of interest as used in context is used to make information related to the word or phrase of interest available, for example, by forming a more precise query and/or filtering search results based on the contextual meta-information.


Apple's patent application was originally filed in Q4 2010 by inventors Moore; Jennifer Lauren; (Santa Cruz, CA) ; Ramerth; Brent D.; (San Francisco, CA) ; Davidson; Douglas R.; (Palo Alto, CA). For more information, see Apple's patent on contextual lookup.


Continuation Patents


In addition to the X-amount of patent applications presented in today's report, the US Patent and Trademark Office did publish a series of older continuation patents dating back to between 200X and 200X. The continuation patents that we list below are specifically referenced as such under the section titled "Cross-Reference to Related Applications." Generally speaking, continuation patents represent tweaks made to patent claims in an effort to get the patents granted by the USPTO and don't represent any noteworthy new development from the original patent filing.


Here are today's continuation patents should you wish to review them: The first continuation patent was first filed for in 2007 titled "Concurrently Displaying a Drop Zone Editor with a Menu Editor during the Creation of a Multimedia Device," (is that long enough a title?); The second continuation patent was first filed for in 2008 titled "Providing text input speech data and non-speech data."; The third continuation patent was first filed for in the year 2000 titled "Universal Interface for Retrieval of Information in a Computer System."; and the fourth continuation patent was first filed in 2008 titled "Predicting branches for vector partitioning loops when processing vector instructions."  


Little Tidbit: Apple Cranks up Patent Filings in Korea


Apple won a preliminary injunction against the Samsung tablet yesterday and the battle between these two tech giants is ongoing. Considering that the battle has been ongoing, I found it interesting that Apple appears to be refilling old and current patents in Korea unlike never before. Below is a cleaned up and current search result for Apple that shows every one of the patents to have been filed in Korea under KR. Do you get the feeling that Apple is preparing for a long and ongoing war with Samsung? I'll take your silence to mean a yes (ha!).  


Xtra Graphic B - patent search in EU patent office database shows Apple's focus on Korean Applications


Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details. Revelations found in patent applications shouldn't be interpreted as rumor or fast-tracked according to rumor timetables. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments. 


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