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March 2013

USPTO Oddly Refuses Apple's "iPad mini" Trademark Filing

PA Trademarks
In March 2010 Apple acquired the "iPad" Trademark from Fujitsu and that secured the trade name in the US. Apple lists it as registered trademark here. The iPad trademark wasn't secured in China until Apple settled in court in November 2012. So with Apple now owning the "iPad" trademark in China and the US, why is USPTO's Examining Attorney Lee-Anne Berns now refusing Apple's "iPad mini" trademark application? One given reason is that identities such as IP Application Development and Marc Angell have applied for the "iPad" trademark in 2010 under applications 77923051 and 77913563 respectively and therefore there's a "likelihood of confusion between these marks." Why would there be any confusion when Apple owns the iPad trademark and the associated product just happens to be the bestselling tablet computer on the planet? Secondly, Apple commonly provides USPTO with their appropriate product website pages as a specimen. It's never been refused until now. This aggressive examiner is claiming that the specimen for the "iPad Mini" shown here, isn't valid. Our report presents you with the full UPSTO accounting for the refusal of the iPad mini trademark so that you can view and judge it for yourself.

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Apple Reveals Dynamic Auto Focus for iDevice Cameras & More

1. Cover, Apple Patent Filing, Dynamic Auto Focus +
On March 28, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two camera related patent applications from Apple. The first one is titled "Dynamic Autofocus Operations," which generally relates to the field of digital camera processing. More particularly, it relates to techniques for improved autofocus operations in camera found in Apple's iDevices. Apple's second invention titled "Partially Lit Sensor" relates to a new image sensing system.

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Apple Invents Water Resistant Device Housing

PA - Title Bar - Patents
On March 28, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals another waterproofing idea for small portable devices. Apple has shown to have been working on a waterproof, or at the very least, a water resistant solution for over a year now. We covered this subject in a well-documented report last March. Today a new patent application illustrates that they're also working on a different angle to creating water resistant devices using a multi-layered ceramic enclosure mixed with Alumina to provide the enclosure with a good RF transmission capability. Our report also touches on another interesting process that Apple is working on called a "Shot Peening, Shot Blasting Process" for creating part flatness.

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Apple Invents new Haptics with Magnetically Permeable Material

1. Cover - Apple invents new haptics using new materials

On March 28, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an invention that generally relates to a haptics device and, more particularly, to magnetically permeable materials in haptic devices. The new haptics for iDevices and the MacBook will provide crisper sensations while avoiding over sharp feedback.

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Apple Invents New "Contacts" GUI for Mac, iDevices & TV

1. Cover, Apple patent for new contact GUI
On March 28, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals new graphical user interfaces related to facilitating interactions with contacts. The newly proposed "contacts" GUI is designed for Macs, iDevices and a possible future TV. With the new contacts user interface, a user will be able to transfer a file to a contact by simply dragging and dropping a file icon onto a visual representation for a recipient contact. The communication mode for the transfer can be determined manually by the user or automatically based on the contact's current online status.

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Apple Invents a Few More Features for the iPad Smart Cover

1. COVER, Apple patent, New Smart Cover Features
On March 28, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals that Jony Ive and his team have a few more features for their Smart Cover. In August 2012 Apple revealed a mind boggling set of new possible features for the Smart Cover that ranged from inductive charging to built-in solar panels and the use of a flexible display to name a few of innovations being explored. Today's revelations are a little tamer but still interesting. Apple is considering adding physical soft buttons to the Smart Cover so that you could easily control your tunes. They're also considering a built-in window so that you could keep tabs on incoming email, text messages, stock quotes and more.

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Stunning Future iPhone with Wraparound Display Revealed

1. Cover iPhone with Wrap Around Display
On March 27, 2013, US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a stunning future iPhone with a wraparound display so that both sides of this iPhone will be able to display content either individually or as one continuous display. The wraparound display will also apply to Apple's possible future wristband communication device or iWatch revealed in February. Today's invention focuses on the flexible wraparound display that could be fashioned in aluminum, aluminum and glass or a fully transparent design. This future iPhone design won't have any physical buttons so controlling the audio on the iPhone will simply require you to hover your hand over the side of the display to temporarily illustrate the controls. The new design could also produce 3D visuals through its unique dual display design. This is certainly one of Apple's hottest inventions of the year.

 

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Copycat Samsung Introduces their Version of the iTunes Store

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Yesterday the Korean press confirmed that Samsung has chosen games as one of its lethal weapons to beachhead into the territories of Apple and Google. Samsung is bombarding game developers with money to create a Tizen OS ecosystem. According to Korean sources, Samsung is bent on having the top 100 iPhone and Android games ready for their Tizen OS by June. While that's mildly interesting, we see that Samsung's latest announcement as being far more aggressive. Today Samsung has introduced their version of Apple's iTunes Store.

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Apple's rumored iTV is to Support Ultra HD Display, Motion & Voice Controls

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According to a new report this morning, Apple is reportedly continuing to develop a TV rumored to be called the iTV, which is likely to support Ultra HD (3840 by 2160) along with voice and motion control functions and Internet connectivity, according to industry supply chain sources.

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Apple's iPhoto Icon for iOS is now a Registered Trademark

PA Trademarks
On March 27, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office approved and published Apple's latest registered trademark for the icon related to the iOS version of iPhoto under registration number 4,309,109. Apple's version of iPhoto for iOS (iPhone and iPad) was introduced alongside the debut of the third-generation iPad in March 2012.

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Half a Billion Devices will be NFC Ready for the e-Wallet Revolution by the end of 2014

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According to a new ABI Research Report out of London today, the number of NFC-enabled devices in use will exceed 500 million in 2014. The current advantage goes to Android devices who form the largest base that could take advantage of micro payment services due to arrive later this fall supported by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the US via their joint venture called Isis. In Canada the major carriers will be supporting similar services via SecureKey and EnStream. According to the ABI report, "NFC has reached the point of no return."

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Research Shows Apple Handily Beating Samsung in Revenues

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Looking specifically at the results for the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), combined shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones was nearly 378 million and revenues were more than $168 billion. In terms of market share, Apple significantly closed the gap with market leader Samsung in the quarter, as the combination of Apple's iPhone 5 and iPad Mini brought Apple up to 20.3% unit shipment share versus 21.2% for Samsung. On a revenue basis for the fourth quarter, Apple continued to dominate with 30.7% share versus 20.4% share for Samsung. Yes, that's the statistic that really matters, as everything else that the mainstream media is saying to prop up Samsung is just a lot of marketing noise.

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Apple's iPhone 5 arrives at T-Mobile April 12 starting at $99

1. Apple iPhone to T-Mobile April 12
T-Mobile has just announced that consumers will have a new affordable, unrestricted and hassle-free way to buy an iPhone 5 when T-Mobile USA, Inc. begins offering the revolutionary phone on Friday, April 12. T-Mobile announced today that qualifying customers can get an iPhone 5 for $99.99 down, plus monthly payments. T-Mobile is the only major U.S. wireless company to offer iPhone 5 with no annual service contract plus unlimited talk, text and Web on a screaming-fast nationwide 4G network.

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Apple to Triple their Retail Footprint in India by 2015

1. India, iStore Expanding
A Patently Apple report in January asked the question "Is There More to Apple's Move to Sell 28 Cent Songs in India? In February we followed up with a report that stated that Apple's sales in India had more than tripled in Q4 2012. Today, the news gets even better. Buoyed by the success of the iPhone in India, Apple has decided to scale up its presence in the country and plans to triple its exclusive stores to around 200 by 2015. 

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Apple Granted Patents for iPen, Face Detection & 5 Designs

1. Apple Granted patents, March 26, 2013 iPen +
On March 26, 2013, The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of thirty-five newly granted patents for Apple Inc. In this particular report we cover Apple's Face Detection technology, an iPen patent which was reexamined by USPTO, five design wins and more.

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Apple Granted 35 Patents Covering Playback on Multitouch Displays, Instant Messaging and Much More

PA - Title Bar Granted Patents
On March 26, 2013, The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 35 newly granted patents for Apple. In this particular report we cover playback controls and variable rate media playback methods using a multitouch display, another covering instant messaging multiple recipients and a full list of the remaining twenty-five patents that were granted to Apple today.

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The State of West Virginia to Ban Wearing Google Glass while Driving

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Last week we posted a report titled "Google Glass: Orwellian Surveillance with Fluffier Branding" which took a basic overview of some of the resistance towards Google's upcoming product. At the time we stated that between now and the time Google Glass actually launches we're bound to hear arguments getting louder and louder about the pros and cons of using this technology. Well that didn't take time. Today, in a pre-emptive move, West Virginia State Rep. Gary G. Howell introduced legislation that would amend existing laws against texting while driving to prohibit "using a wearable computer with head mounted display."

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Apple Files Seven Trademarks to protect iPod nano App Icons

1. Apple files for iPod nano app icon trademarks Mar 25, 2013
On March 25, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published seven of Apple's latest trademark filings covering the round app icons for their seventh generation iPod nano. The designs that differ from those displayed on Apple's iPhone and iPad were originally filed last week and revealed today. Our report provides you with the entire set of color app icon graphics along with their respective International Class specifics.

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Due to Apple Products, Hon Hai Posts Record Profits

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It's being report today that Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (2317), the world's largest contract manufacturer of electronics, posted record annual profit after Apple released a new iPhone and three versions of its iPad in Q4 2012.

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Apple Acquires Impressive Indoor Location Startup

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According to the Wall Street Journal this evening, Apple has acquired indoor-GPS company WifiSLAM, a sign that the war over indoor mobile location services is heating up. The report claims that Apple paid around $20 million for the Silicon Valley-based company. The company describes its main product this way: "Allow your smartphone to pinpoint its location (and the location of your friends) in real-time to 2.5m accuracy using only ambient WiFi signals that are already present in buildings." This is illustrated in two videos presented below. Update Mar 24, 2013 1PM MST

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The Pressure is on Apple to update the iPhone's Aging Interface

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On Monday BlackBerry's CEO Thorsten Heins stated that Apple was risking being left behind in the smartphone business because its flagship iPhone hadn't been significantly redesigned in five years. In an interview with the Associated Press yesterday he was blunter by stating that "a lack of innovation at Apple has left the iPhone's user interface outdated." Thorsten's comments about Apple's iPhone have come at time when BlackBerry is promoting their all-new smartphone lineup with their revised OS and sexier interface. Thorsten had earlier stated that "the rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don't innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly." That wasn't said from simple blind sarcasm but rather from experience as Apple's iPhone eventually overtook the Blackberry back in 2008, though at times BlackBerry jostled with the iPhone for second position in the race for Mobile Device leadership. But no one has suffered more in the mobile space recently than Nokia who was once the king of mobile phones. As the chart illustrates below, Nokia has fallen from grace to the fourth spot in 2012 mobile phone sales. So it's no wonder why Nokia's CEO has decided to now throw his hat into the ring and take a big swipe at Apple's iPhone. 

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18,000 Chinese Students take out Loans to buy Apple Devices

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Believe it or not, a whopping 18,000 college students have taken high-interest loans simply to keep with their friends who mainly use iPhones and iPads on campus. According to the report out of Bejing, Twenty thousand students applied for the student loans and 90% of them chose to buy Apple products with the funds in central China's Wuhan city.

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Apple's On Site Solar Power now Creates Energy Equivalent to Powering 17,600 Homes a Year

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According to Reuters, Apple now runs its largest U.S. data center entirely on renewable energy, with a majority of the power generated on-site from solar panels and fuel cells, the company's chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, said on Thursday. The data center in Maiden, North Carolina, which supports Internet storage and Apple's service-hosting iCloud product, produces 167 million kilowatts -- the power equivalent of 17,600 homes for one year -- from a 100-acre solar farm and fuel cell installations provided by Silicon Valley startup Bloom Energy. They are the largest, non-utility power-generating facilities of their kind in the United States, Oppenheimer told Reuters. "We switched over to these new energy sources in December," he said. "And we are committed to generating 60 percent of the electricity that the data center will use by making power on site. We are now achieving that goal."

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Hon Hai met secretly with Apple in Japan to Discuss iTV Panels

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News out of Taiwan today states that Hon Hai's Chairman Terry Gou met with Apple executives earlier this month to discuss HDTV displays for Apple's future iTV. The meeting reportedly took place a tenth generation flat panel plant in Sakai in western Japan.

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Rumor: Apple Shuts Samsung out of supplying iPad 5 Parts

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News out of Korea today is music to many Apple fans who view Samsung as a nasty copycatting rival. A new Korean report published this morning states that "Apple recently sent the request for parts estimate for its 5th generation iPad and iPad Mini 2 to its parts suppliers, and Samsung Display was not on the recipient list." Of course Vice Chairman of Samsung stated that he's not concerned about this and wrote it off as a groundless rumor. However, the report's headline which reads "Samsung, No Worries even if Apple walks away," appears to have been a comment that was made off record; a comment which would support the so-called rumor of Samsung being locked out.

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