Apple Continues to work on a Revolutionary Lenticular Display and the HomePod mini patent comes to light
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With Apple having introduced Spatial Audio for AirPods Pro and now working to perfect it in future generations, Apple may be envisioning the delivery of a Spatial Reality Display in the future. What would such a display bring to market? Below is video from Sony who is working on such a display. Because some of the video is presented with Japanese engineers, open the video full screen to see the translation clearly.
Of course, prior to delivering a sophisticated Lenticular display to a level of being a Spatial Reality Display, Apple's patents present us with work being done for an advanced future Mac display and/or TV that could deliver 3D imagery.
Patently Apple covered Apple's first Lenticular display patent application in late September 2021. In that patent filing, Apple noted that a lenticular display may have a lenticular lens film formed over an array of pixels. A plurality of lenticular lenses may extend across the length of the display. The lenticular lenses may be configured to enable stereoscopic viewing (3D viewing) of the display such that a viewer perceives three-dimensional images.
The electronic device may also include an eye and/or head tracking system. The eye and/or head tracking system uses a camera to capture images of a viewer of the display. The capture images may be used to determine a viewer's eye position.
In the patent application published by the US Patent & Trademark Office yesterday titled "Method and Device for Operating a Lenticular Display," Apple focused on systems, methods, and devices for displaying different content to different users via a lenticular display. The twist to this invention was the context of a television using a lenticular display.
Apple further notes that Lenticular displays are capable displaying different content at different angles. For example, when viewing a lenticular display from a first angle, a video clip is seen and when viewing the lenticular display from a second angle, a different video clip is seen.
Whereas some lenticular displays display different content at different angles, it may be desirable to display different content to different users while the users move with respect to the lenticular display.
For example, Apple describes patent FIG. 2 this way: "a first user (#120A) may be associated with metadata indicating that the first user has permission to watch television shows rated TV-MA or less, whereas the second user (#120B) is associated with metadata indicating that the second user has permission to watch television shows rated TV-PG or less. In this way, the first content (#130A) may include a TV-MA rated television show and the second content may include a different show (rated TV-PG or less) or a censored version of the TV-MA rated television show."
Apple's patent FIG. 3 illustrates a third perspective view of the example operating environment at the first time; FIG. 4 illustrates a top view of the example operating environment at the first time.
Further into this patent application got even more interesting in respect to TV. When Apple is describing a method associated with the lenticular display, they used the following scenario:
"For example, in various implementations, the first user is associated with a first subscription video service account and the second user is associated with a second subscription video service account and a respective “next episode” is displayed to each user. In various implementations, the method further includes determining, from the first image, a first vertical angle of the first user at the first time with respect to the line perpendicular to the lenticular display and a first vertical angle of the second user at the first time with respect to the line perpendicular to the lenticular display."
The patent's reference to a "video subscription account" is interesting in light of Apple TV+.
Apple's patent FIG. 10 below is a schematic of a future lenticular display system.
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Apple updated their patent Thursday with 20 new patent claims. Below is just one of the key additions:
"A device comprising: an image sensor; a lenticular display; and a non-transitory memory; and one or more processors to: capture, using the image sensor, an image; determine, from the first image, a horizontal angle of a first user with respect to a line perpendicular to the lenticular display, a vertical angle of the first user with respect to the line perpendicular to the display, a horizontal angle of a second user with respect to the line perpendicular to the lenticular display, and a vertical angle of the second user with respect to the line perpendicular to the display; and display, via the lenticular display, first content at the horizontal angle of the first user and second content, different than the first content, at the horizontal angle of the second user, wherein the first content is based on the vertical angle of the first user and the second content is based on the vertical angle of the second user."
For more on this, review Apple's patent application number 20220046226. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Patent: HomePod mini
The vast majority of the time patents present a vision of a product contemplated for the future. Then there are times, like this one, where Apple didn't want the news out that they were working on a mini version of the HomePod and so the patent has been published after the product's release.
Apple's patent FIG. 4A above is a top view of light-emitting device #30 illustrating a pattern of light-emitting components #34 interconnected via a single flex circuit such as flex circuit #36. The color of emitted light may be controlled by adjusting the emitted color from each of components. As shown in FIG. 4A, the flex circuit may be a single long strip of flex circuit connecting the center light-emitting component to each successive ring of light-emitting components in a spiral-like routing pattern.
Apple's patent FIGS. 10B and 10C above are top views of illustrative reticle members that may be used in the glyph reticle projection assembly. These represent the volume up and down touch virtual buttons.
For more on the HomePod mini invention, review Apple's patent application 20220042676 titled "Electronic Device with Visual Feedback."