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Apple Surprises us with an Exciting Invention Revealing a Next Generation Digital Periodical Device using Flexible Displays

The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 31 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we focus on what could be a revolutionary new Apple device that they refer to as a digital periodical. The unit can also act as an advertising display for a retail store application and beyond. Apple reveals that the new device would use an advanced form of MMS to deliver the content to this new kind of device.


Apple Granted Patent for a Mobile Device with an Adaptively Responsive Flexible Display


Apple has been granted a patent today for their invention relating to an apparatus and method to communicate multimedia documents or content to a mobile or fixed device over a wireless network. In particular, the mobile or fixed device may be configured as a digital periodical or advertising device to transmit and receive converted multimedia documents or content delivered using multimedia messaging service over a wireless network.


Apple's Patent Background


Wireless communications has enabled widespread easy access to mass media and multimedia information via mobile devices, cellular phones, personal digital assistants, smart phones, or the like. Although the availability of multimedia information is ubiquitous, proper viewing, display, and delivery of information for an enjoyable user experience is still lacking. This is especially the case for viewing periodicals such as online magazines or news content on a mobile device where a large display is desirable.


Moreover, having complex software and hardware is required to receive and display multimedia periodical information on present mobile devices making them expensive, heavy, and power intensive.


Digital fixed advertising display systems are commonplace in urban environments. However, widespread use of these systems is not commonplace since they require a fixed power source and wired network connection. This is problematic for rural and remote locations such as highways and light or utility posts where access to power and communications infrastructure is limited. Moreover, digital advertising systems do not provide any interactivity, location awareness, or accessibility to Internet content making them poor for creating impressions on consumers and constraining their effectiveness.


Organic light emitting diode (OLED), liquid crystal display (LCD) flexible device technology, and other flexible substrate technologies have made advancements recently promising to provide an enhanced user experience, larger display sizes, portability, and low power consumption. However, commercialization of products having flexible displays has been slow due to a lack of viable and robust consumer applications. Moreover, another problem with devices having flexible displays is the ability to integrate other electronic circuitry due to form factor constraints and poor design.


Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a standardized technology being developed by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the Third Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2), and the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA). Although originally developed to send photos and simple video clips, recently added features to MMS have expanded its capabilities. The added features to MMS have made it into the preferable transport and presentation mechanism of mobile messaging that rivals electronic mail. However, the commercial applications and utilization of advanced MMS features has been limited.


It is desirable to provide a digital periodical or advertising device preferably having a flexible display for receiving diverse mass media information, multimedia information, or Internet content in an efficient manner using MMS.


Apple's granted patent covers an apparatus and method for delivering mass media and multimedia information to a digital periodical or advertising device preferably using Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and having an electronic flexible screen or display.


Apple notes that a multimedia document, web page, multimedia advertisement, or any other multimedia content on a server or a computer is extracted, parsed, and/or segmented into a plurality of video, audio, image, or text elements. The plurality of elements are each converted to an MMS message and transmitted optionally with an MMS assembler message or embedded information in each MMS message for proper reassembly of the original multimedia document or content. The MMS messages are received and reassembled back into the original multimedia document or content at a digital periodical or advertising device.


Apple's Patented Digital Periodical Device


In Apple's FIG. 2 noted below we're able to see a diagram of a digital periodical or advertising device 200 having one or more electronic flexible screen or display devices. The one or more electronic flexible screen or display devices (#202) may be configured and assembled using organic light emitting diodes (OLED), liquid crystal displays using flexible substrate technology, flexible transistors, field emission displays (FED) using flexible substrate technology, as desired.


In the case for multiple electronic flexible screens or display devices, rotation (#214) reveals a second electronic flexible screen or display device (#203) on the back of the device.




Any one of the housing members (# 204 and #206) selectively house certain hardware components such as one or more processors, memory, one or more sensors, and one or more network adapters and more.


In one embodiment of the invention, the housing members may each have individual transmitting/receiving antennas (#216 and #218K) for providing spatial and time diversity. One or more electronic flexible screen or display devices can optionally be configured to collapse 208 and roll up into housing members 204 or 206 for portability.


Used as an Advertising Device


Apple notes that for orientating the device in a circular manner for a presentation or posting on a light post as an advertisement, the attachment members (#210 and #212 noted in FIG. 2) may be used. The housing members may be rectangular or cylindrical and provide grasping positions, the ability to position the device upright on a flat surface, or the ability to mount the device on a flat surface, as desired.


Still referring to FIG. 2, in another embodiment the device may optionally have a liquid crystal display (LCD), LED, FED, or OLED display unit #220. For this case, when one or more electronic flexible screen or display devices is collapsed into the housing member (#206) adjacent to the display unit is still available for displaying content.


When one or more electronic flexible screen or display devices is expanded out of housing member 204 or 206, the combination of the display unit and flexible screen or display devices 202 provides a larger screen size for a single graphical feed.


The Schematics of the Periodical Device and Supporting iCloud System


Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted below is a diagram of a digital periodical or advertising device and FIG. 3 is a diagram of a system for providing and communicating mass media documents, multimedia documents, or any multimedia content.



Apple credits Harry Vartanian as the inventors of granted patent 8,855,727 which was originally filed in Q3 2013 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.


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