Shortly after Apple introduced the iPhone 5, Samsung's propaganda PR machine went into high gear mocking the new phone and Apple fans in general. Samsung tried to make it like the iPhone 5 was for an older generation that was simply out of touch with technology. One particular ad mocked Apple's decision to reposition their headphone port to the bottom of the iPhone 5. Samsung may have jumped the gun on that point and it may come back to bite them in the next year of two.
Time Magazine has published their top 10 tech industry predictions for 2013. Time safely predicts that Microsoft will enter the smartphone business in 2013, which is something that we covered back in November in a report titled Microsoft Considers Releasing a Surface Smartphone in 2013. They also predict that Google may create an upscale line of mobile devices via Motorola. That would basically translate to Google finally entering the hardware business directly to challenge Apple head-on. That would definitely cause sparks that could ignite round two of the patent wars. Yet at the end of the day, there were two predictions by Time relating to Apple. The first prediction sees Apple making a large investment in its supply chain. Their guesses include owning a key display manufacturer, owning hardware machining factories, and/or even investing or co-investing in a foundry to manufacture its own semiconductors for all of its computers. Their second prediction is a little more daring. Okay, a lot more daring.
Our last patent report for 2012 goes to a new patent application that was published by the US Patent office last week regarding an advanced "Active Stylus." Over the years, Apple has stated that they weren't interested in a 7" iPad and now it's going to be one of Apple's hottest selling products in 2013. Apple denied they had interest in a cellphone of their own and storing data in the sky, now the cloud, was quite humorous to Steve Jobs. Yes, Apple has said they weren't interested in certain products just to turn around and actually deliver them as the next great thing. The old boring dumb stick called the stylus is another one that Steve Jobs supposedly didn't like and at the time it made sense. Yet it's just a known fact that Apple's engineers have been working on "reinventing" the stylus for years now, contrary to their public stance. Even the idea that it was too easy to lose a stylus has been overcome with the advent of Apple's work with encoded magnets that's behind the iPad's Smart Cover product. Today, the stylus is more like a crayon than a pen. Samsung's Galaxy Note product with a stylus is a case in point. It just sucks as a pen. Apple's latest invention introduces the "active stylus" to overcome common stylus problems and names the iPhone and iPad by name as products that may be able to take advantage of the active stylus in the future.
It's that time of year again when we list our top IP reports of the year based on reader popularity. The results are simply based on the sheer volume of hits received per report. In other words, these are the IP reports that the Mac Community voted in as the winners. Our report presents you with ten patents, two trademarks, one news report and an oddball that we just couldn't ignore. The reports are listed in random order. Did any of your favorites make the list this year?
Reuters is reporting this afternoon that Apple has agreed to withdraw patent claims against a new Samsung phone with a high-end display after Samsung said it was not offering to sell the product in the crucial U.S. market. Apple disclosed the agreement in a filing on Friday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California. Samsung's representative stated that it is not "making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the Galaxy S III Mini in the United States." Based on that, Apple said it agreed to withdraw its patent claims on the Mini, "so long as the current withdrawal will not prejudice Apple's ability later to accuse the Galaxy S III Mini if the factual circumstances change." Apple had previously argued that the device infringed on the same patents included in its $1.5 billion verdict against Samsung.
On December 28, 2012, China's Patent & Trademark Office published two of Apple's latest registered trademarks for the iBooks Author Logo in both color and black and white as noted above. The logos are now protected until 2017. The timing of the registered trademarks couldn't have come at a better time considering that the US Patent and Trademark Office just suspended Apple's US trademark filing 85642785 on December 17, 2012. The reason for the suspension was insufficient proof of their foreign priority filing. China publishing the registered trademarks publically today should expedite Apple's application to final status shortly.
DigiTimes is reporting this morning that Apple has issued requests for quotations (RFQ) to Taiwan-based supply chain makers for the revision of several notebook models including MacBook Pro and MacBook Air series in June 2013, causing ultrabook vendors to be concerned, according to supply chain makers. But what struck me about this report is that they stated that "sources pointed out that the MacBook Air for 2013 will feature a new processor platform, but its industrial design will not see any major changes." They didn't just say processor, they stated new processor platform. In February, MacRumors reported that Apple seriously considered using AMD processors and just last month Bloomberg report that Apple was considering a switch to ARM processors for future Macs. Is there a big switch for Apple's MacBook Air lineup for the second half of 2013? Time will tell.
According to BrightWire, a business-to-business resource for portfolio managers, Taiwan's United Daily News is reporting this morning that the demand for the iPad mini and iPhone 5 is so hot that Hon Hai Precision and circuit board supplier Flexium Interconnect have agreed to operate their plants and certain production lines during the Chinese New Year, shown on this calendar as taking place on February 10-13. In particular, the report noted that Flexium has brought in and trained a great number of students to fill the production lines. On Wednesday we reported that Apple's iPad mini is expected to catch up with demand in Q1 2013, and last Sunday we reported that Apple is to greatly expand iPad mini production in 2013. Do you get the feeling that the iPad mini once up to speed is going to be a killer product for Apple in 2013?
In March of this year, a group of Chinese authors sued Apple for allegedly adding their books to the iTunes Store without authorization. In three separate lawsuits filed in Beijing No. 2 Intermediate court, 12 writers were claiming that 59 of their works were sold through iTunes without licenses. Today, a legal newspaper in Beijing is reporting that the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate court ruled that Apple should pay the original 8 writers who filed the lawsuit a total of $68,781 US in damages for its App Store's copyright infringement. Some reports were claiming that the writers were suing for 3.5 million US while others reported 1.6 million US. So while it was definitely a victory for the writers, the penalty handed down by the court was far from the compensation that they originally sought from Apple.
According to BrightWire, a business-to-business resource for portfolio managers, there's a hot new rumor published by China Times this morning pertaining to Apple's future HDTV. According to the rumor, Hon Hai has a special iTV development team that has already produced components for the upcoming Apple HDTV which the report boldly targets for a mid-2013 debut when Apple is to reveal the integration of its content platform. This rumor supports another one that surfaced last week that stated that Apple HDTV tests were underway at Hon Hai. Patently Apple will continue to report on these rumors even though we're a little skeptical. The question of the day is: Will 2013 be the year for Apple's HDTV?
According to DigiTimes, Apple is likely to move their Mac mini production line from Foxconn China to Foxconn US. Hiring will begin in 2013 for the new automated production lines that are expected to produce close to two million units. The move appears to be a PR move, as the volume is a drop in the bucket for Apple. Other major OEM's that might get the business includes Quanta Computer which has plants in Fremont California and Nashville, Tennessee. DigiTimes also reports today that Apple is inquiring about whether AU Optronics L5C line could be used to produce IGZO displays. Additionally, the report states that Innolux Corporation could enter Apple's supply chain as they've licensed IGZO technology from Sharp. This move may explain the news that leaked earlier this week that Sharp is set to end IGZO LCD Panel Supply to Apple. The twist to this news is that Sharp is likely to not supply the displays to Apple, directly.
About two years ago we published a report titled "Apple Could Advance Gaming & Paint in Magic Mouse Upgrade." Today, a supporting patent has surfaced that relates to methods for how the magic mouse could process combinations of kinematical inputs such as force and velocity. According to Apple, the invention may have applicability to any electronic system or application capable of receiving input. For example, embodiments of the invention may be useful with video games, file browsing, interactive navigation, communication systems, control systems, military systems, medical devices, and industrial applications. See our 2010 report for more patent illustrations. A second patent application that surfaced this morning titled "Integrated media jukebox and physiologic data handling application" demonstrates that Apple is still tweaking their Nike + iPod system which was granted yet another patent earlier this week.
On December 27, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two display related patent applications from Apple. The first patent generally relates to liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and, more specifically, to a coated chassis for an LCD. According to Apple, the chassis could be made from a non-conductive material and be operable to support displays found on the iPhone, iPad, MacBook and even the touchpad on MacBooks. The coating could advantageously prevent or reduce noise in the device's antenna usually caused by the LCD. Because the conductive material adds little or no bulk to the device, it's able to maintain a compact size. The second patent relates to LCDs that include a panel having an array of metal oxide TFTs, which may be configured to reduce visual artifacts by providing reduced RC loading and parasitic capacitance, thus improving overall image quality. In one embodiment, the display may be a high-resolution LCD display having more pixels per inch, such as a Retina Display.
On December 27, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a major patent application from Apple that reveals more of their total SIM solution that may have played a role in The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) choosing their design back in June.
Last month we reported on Apple & Google being the top tech leaders in harnessing solar energy. In a new patent application published by the US Patent Office this morning, we discover that Apple has invented a new on-demand system to harness stored wind energy. More specifically, Apple's patent relates to techniques for storing rotational energy from a wind turbine as heat and using the stored heat to subsequently generate electricity on demand.
BrightWire, a business-to-business resource for portfolio managers, has reported that the Taiwan based China Times has been told that Apple has shifted orders for its important flip-chip chip scale package for ARM chips from Samsung's SEMCO to Taiwanese printed circuit board maker Unimicron Technology Corp. It's another move by Apple to decrease its business with Samsung for slavishly copying their products. The report goes on to state that Unimicron had started small-scale shipments in 4Q 2012 and will shift into mass production when their new plant is launched sometime in 2013.
Samsung, who likes to play up their poor little company routing in the press by continually stating that they just want Apple to stop suing them and focus on innovation rather than litigation, has stumbled on their own PR shoe laces of late. We reported earlier this week that the European Commission informed Samsung of its preliminary view that the company's seeking of injunctions against Apple for allegedly infringing "standard-essential" patents in the EU amounts to an abuse of a dominant position. Then the news came to light that Samsung launched a new lawsuit against Apple in a Korean court over software followed by a report that Samsung is now on the warpath against Ericsson requesting a ban on their products. Just looking back to late November and you'll also see that Samsung filed suit against LG Display claiming that seven of their OLED patents were invalid. Clearly Samsung's one time good-guy routine is quickly waning. Not only do they believe in offensive litigation as a viable strategic tactic against their competitors, they also believe in turning the knife in their backs by abusing their dominant position with essential patents as confirmed by the EU Commission. At the end of the day, Samsung's good-guy routine is officially toast.
In September, NPD DisplaySearch estimated that Apple would ship 8 million iPad mini units in 2012 and 20 million for all of 2013. Then earlier this week the news came to light that that Apple will greatly expand the iPad mini's production in 2013 due to bringing on more capacity via Pegatron. Today, DigiTimes is reporting that Taiwan-based supply chain makers confirm that Apple will indeed ship 8 million iPad mini units but could have shipped 12 million if Apple would have been able to secure enough displays. The good news is that Taiwan's supply chain suppliers expect Apple to ship 13 million iPad minis in Q1 2013 alone, which will easily sail past the 20 million mark for all of 2013 as forecasted earlier by NDP DisplaySearch.
Apple Wins Patents Relating to a Super-Thin USB Connector, the iMac's Housing, 4G LTE Technology & 25 More
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of thirty-six newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our last patent report of the day we briefly cover patents relating to a super-thin USB connector and the iMac's housing. We also link to two 4G LTE patents that Apple gained form Nortel earlier this year and close out our report by providing you with a grand list of the remaining twenty five granted patents issued to Apple today.
In April of this year we first reported on Apple's patent application for a Micro SIM connector. The timing of Apple's new micro SIM connector patent couldn't have been more perfect in light of the battle between Nokia and Apple over the design of future miniature SIM cards for mobile devices. It was even been reported that Nokia had threatened to withdraw 50 or so SIM card related patents from ETSI if the Apple proposal is approved. Well, in June Apple's design won that very battle. Today, Apple has been officially granted the patent regarding the Micro SIM card.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of thirty-six newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover two of Apple's patents. The first patent relates to Apple's ongoing work with advancing multi-touch displays which Apple first introduced with their iPhone in 2007. The second patent relates to new processes that Apple invented for shaping glass for iDevices like the iPhone and iPad so that they would be both esthetically pleasing while eliminating processes involving dangerous chemicals and gasses.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 36 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's latest granted patent relating to their popular Nike + iPod application. The patent covers the application's user interface which records the distance and pace of a runner or power walker. The application uniquely works in conjunction with an iPod that is able to stay in sync with a specialized sensor worn in or on top of one the user's running shoes.
BrightWire, a business-to-business resource for portfolio managers, is reporting this morning that Taiwan's United Daily News is reporting that Apple has chosen Taiwan-based Chenming Mold Industry as a second supplier of metal injection moldings (MIM). Apple's main supplier at the moment is Hon Hai Precision Industry. The report states that shipments from Chenming Mold began sometime in October. The source claims that Chenming also aims to provide similar products to Apple relating to the production of the iPad and iPad mini in 2013. This isn't much of a surprise considering that Apple is preparing for explosive growth for the iPad mini in 2013.
BrightWire, a business-to-business resource for portfolio managers, is reporting this morning that a report published by Tokyo's daily newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun is stating that Sharp has officially ended small to mid-sized IGZO LCD panel supply to Apple due to low profitability. At this time it's difficult to assess whether their public reasoning is factual or just a face saving measure due to Apple dumping the IGZO display due to production delays.
Santa, who is a secret agent of The US Patent and Trademark Office, officially dropped thirty-six shiny new granted patent certificates down Apple's chimney this morning at 12:05 A.M., according to Elf 101 who is Santa's official spokesperson. The Elf told Patently Apple that there were two special patents of interest. The first one was for the fourth generation iPod touch's design which may have been one of the last design patents for a product that lists the late Steve Jobs as one of the inventors. The second patent is for the MacBook Air which the late Steve Jobs proudly introduced back in 2008. Apple's patent, which isn't a design patent, covers many aspects of the MacBook Air's design. The MacBook Air is one of the best notebook designs on the market today. So much so that Intel and their band cloners have copied Apple's design form factor and called it the "Ultrabook."