Apple updates 5 key patents covering an all-glass iPhone with a Wrap Around Display, Gaze Controls, an iDevice Strobe Accessory+
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of five updated patent applications from Apple covering a wide range of inventions from an all-glass iPhone form factor with a wrap around display, to the iPad's elongated Touch ID button and more.
iPhone with Wrap Around Display
Patently Apple first covered this invention from Apple in 2014, a patent originally filed in 2011. Apple has been granted 7 patents for this possible new form factor that's all glass.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 below illustrates a perspective view of an iPhone in operation. Notice how the wrap around display substantially increases the available display area that can be used for display of icons, data, images, video and more.
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In Apple's latest update to this invention, Apple focuses on adding Face ID. Apple states the following in patent claims 1 and 2:
New Patent Claim #1: "An electronic device, comprising: a first display portion configured to emit light in a first direction; a second display portion configured to emit light in a second direction opposite the first direction; a camera facing the first direction configured to track movement of at least a portion of a face; and control circuitry configured to adjust display content on at least one of the first and second display portions based on the movement."
New Patent Claim #2: "The electronic device defined in claim 1 wherein the camera is configured to process captured images using facial recognition software."
To review Apple's full 20 new patent claims, check out Apple's continuation patent 20220011822 here.
Elongated Fingerprint Sensor
A second patent update from Apple relates to the Touch ID button used on the iPad as noted in Apple's marketing image below.
Apple's patent FIG. 1A below depicts an electronic device incorporating an elongated fingerprint sensor; FIG. 2 is a graphic illustration of a portion of a fingerprint image; FIG. 3A depicts an example biometric input device incorporating an elongated fingerprint sensor.
Apple has updated this patent with 20 new patent claims to better protect their invention from patent trolls and competitors. Below you'll find two of Apple's new patent claims:
New, Claim #1: "An electronic device, comprising: a housing; a display positioned at least partially within the housing; a fingerprint sensor, comprising: a sensor cover defining an input surface, the sensor cover having a length that exceeds a width; a conductive frame surrounding the sensor cover; a post coupled to the conductive frame and extending through the housing; a force sensor configured to output a signal corresponding to an amount of a force exerted on the input surface; and a capacitive sensor positioned below the sensor cover and configured to capture a fingerprint image in response to the force; and an isolation member between the conductive frame and the housing; wherein the conductive frame is configured to move with the sensor cover in response to the amount of the force; and the post is configured to transfer force from the input surface to the force sensor."
New Claim #11: "A fingerprint sensor for an electronic device, comprising: a sensor cover defining an input surface having a first length greater than a first width; an isolation member electrically isolating the sensor cover from an adjacent housing; an elongated sensor layer positioned below the sensor cover and comprising an array of capacitive electrodes, the elongated sensor layer having a second length greater than a second width; a circuit layer positioned below the elongated sensor layer and electrically coupled to the array of capacitive electrodes; and processing circuitry coupled to the circuit layer and configured to: cause the elongated sensor layer to capture fingerprint data derived from capacitances of the array of capacitive electrodes; generate an elongated fingerprint image based on the captured fingerprint data; compare the elongated fingerprint image to a stored fingerprint image; and if the elongated fingerprint image matches the stored fingerprint image, authenticate a user of the electronic device."
To review Apple's continuation patent 20220012451 and it's remaining 18 new patent claims, click here.
Gaze-Based User Interactions
In April 2019 Patently Apple covered an Apple patent filed in Europe regarding advanced gaze controls titled "Apple Advances Gaze Controls as a Key Input Function along with Touch & In-Air Gesturing to Control a Headset."
Apple's invention describes techniques for interacting with an HMD device using an eye gaze. According to some embodiments, a user uses their eyes to interact with user interface objects displayed on the electronic device display. The techniques provide a more natural and efficient interface by, in some exemplary embodiments, allowing a user to operate the device using primarily eye gazes and eye gestures (e.g., eye movement, blinks, and stares).
Apple has updated their invention with 20 new patent claims that you could review in full here. Below is just the first new patent claim:
New Claim #1: "An electronic device, comprising: one or more processors; and memory storing one or more programs configured to be executed by the one or more processors, the one or more programs including instructions for: receiving a first user input at a first time; in response to receiving the first user input and in accordance with a determination that a gaze position at the first time corresponds to a plurality of selectable positions, designating a selection point at a first position of the plurality of selectable positions; while maintaining designation of the selection point, receiving a second user input; in response to receiving the second user input, moving the selection point to a second position of the plurality of selectable positions, wherein the second position is different than the first position, and wherein moving the selection point to the second position is not based on the gaze position; while the selection point is at the second position, receiving a third user input; and in response to receiving the third user input, confirming the selection point at the second position."
Accessory Strobe Interface
In November 2021 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple has Won a Patent for a possible future Strobe Light Accessory for iPhone and more." Today, the U.S. Patent Office published an Apple update to this invention that covers the addition of 20 new patent claims that you could review in full here. The first new claim is presented below:
New Claim #1: "An accessory strobe device for a mobile device, comprising: a plurality of xenon emitters; an input connector, wherein the input connector is configured to be coupled to a port on the mobile device that provides both data and power connections, and wherein the input connector is configured to receive a strobe control signal from the port on the mobile device; and a power level controller coupled to the plurality of xenon emitters, wherein the power level controller is configured to determine a power level of the plurality of xenon emitters based on the strobe control signal."
Fabric-Covered HomePod with Touch Sensor
The last of Apple's major patent updates today covers the possibility of touch controls built into a future HomePod or HomePod mini.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a perspective view of a HomePod device having a housing covered with a fabric layer; FIG. 3 is a diagram of a portion of an illustrative layer of warp knit fabric; FIG. 16 is a side view of an illustrative electronic device having touch-sensitive regions shaped like media control symbols.
See Patently Apple's granted patent report published on October 5, 2021 for basic details. Today's patent update covers 20 new patent claims. The first new patent claim is presented below:
New Patent Claim #1: "An electronic device, comprising: a housing; a speaker in the housing configured to emit sound; a fabric cover on an outer surface of the housing, wherein the fabric cover has openings through which the sound passes; and a touch sensor configured to detect touch input on the fabric cover, wherein the touch sensor has openings through which the sound passes."
You could review the other 19 new patent claims here.