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."
Every once and a while Apple surprises us with a new invention on granted patent day because they filed the original patent filing under one of the engineer's name instead of "Apple Inc." Today, we're treated to a granted a patent that basically reveals that Apple may be thinking of introducing a new hybrid iDevice "Home Button." Since day one Apple had their classic Home Button and more recently introduced a hybrid button for muting audio and/or locking the orientation of your display as noted here. The proposed hybrid Home Button would essentially be constructed in such a manner so as to allow the user to lock the orientation of their iDevice display from the Home Button instead of a side button that exists today. It looks like Apple's reinventing the Home Button for iDevices and it sure makes sense. (Report Updated October 3.)
Over the years, Apple has dreamt up a revolutionary styled docking station, some smart docks, docks based on straight forward inductive charging methods and some with loopy inductive charging methods and yet we still have Apple's plain old boring dock. But it seems that Apple isn't done just yet with designing new docks and today we see that their design team went over the edge with a dozen or more docking systems. And this time around, most of them involve mating a power-clip to a docking station that could also end up being your MacBook or iMac. One of these designs may end up making it to market one of these days or they'll all simply end up in Jony Ive's toy box to rust with all of the other rejected ideas. C'mon Jony – pick a new docking system and get on with it already.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-seven newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. While this morning's patent report covers seventeen patents in total, our main focus is placed on Apple winning two major iPod patents covering the user interface and the systems behind their media player. Steve Jobs is noted as one of the inventors of the iPod user interface patent which covers a hierarchically ordered graphical user interface including its "home" UI. Will Apple Legal use these fresh new patents to further protect their iDevices? Time will tell.
In a Patent Flash Report that we posted last week partially titled "Will the iPhone ever be Waterproof?" – we covered Apple's system for creating a water seal involving the use of both a sealing tape such as DuPont's Kapton and a soldering paste. In today's newly published patent application, Apple reveals that they're working on waterproofing a key device component using silicone rubber as a sealant. The patent also reveals that their solutions could eventually extend on through to the iPad and even the MacBook. Apple isn't there yet, but their definitely working on ways of better protecting us against devastating water damage so that we could keep on working, surfing and enjoying our devices without unnecessary disruption.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of thirteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our last granted patent report of the day we primarily focus on one of Apple's original iPhone patents that relate to editing file or file folder lists easily. Other granted patents issued today cover the technology behind Apple's second generation iPod Shuffle and how the iPhone was redesigned after 2007 so that it could double as an external hard drive.
On November 11, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's mini media players such as the iPod shuffle and iPod nano. Apple's proposal is to add a speaker to the media players attachment clip. Apple points out how they may use a space age material in the design of the speaker that was once used in NASA's Apollo lunar module. I guess that Apple wants to give their fans a unique out-of-this-world experience. Oh those Crazy Ones of Cupertino are at it again.
On November 01, 2011, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published three new Industrial Design Patent wins for Apple covering the new multi-touch iPod nano, the iPod shuffle and previous generation iPod nano. It's definitely a big iPod design day for Apple.
Apple Wins Patents Relating to a Point-of-Sale Transaction System, Karaoke & Wireless Keyboard Design
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 14 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our first granted patent report of the day we focus on three specific patents. The first relates to a sophisticated roaming point-of-sale system that Apple may use in their Apple Stores, the second is a patent relating to a Karaoke system that few have seen and the last relates to Apple's wireless keyboard design.
On June 23, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals various concepts behind a newly advanced directional audio interface. In one scenario, a specialized effect with a new kind of headset on would create an invisible spatial arc over the user's head that could control iPod menus through air gestures. Alternatives work with sensors in the iPod so that a user could map out movements to specific menu actions as our opening graphic illustrates. Apple's patent provides us with a mix of practical and very futuristic concepts on how we'll be able to control our iPod menus in the future through new audio interfaces. Concepts that will drive the competition mad once again.
Apple Introduces us to a Live Chameleon-Like Screen Saver Designed Specifically for iOS Devices & Fashion Accessories
Apple filed their "Apple" trademark in China this week which we noted as carrying an interesting twist. We noticed that Apple had, for the first time, emphasized fashion accessories and precious metals for jewelry, a watch and more in association with their brand name in a very succinct way. That just happens to fall in nicely with a new Apple patent application that was published this morning by USPTO that specifically points to using a next generation iPod nano as a fashion accessory. The unique aspect of this accessory is that it will implement a wild new dynamic screen saver system that could sense the environment it is in and in a chameleon-like fashion automatically change the screen saver accordingly. The patent even indirectly hints at a camera returning to the iPod nano which would support several on-going rumors.
Apple has been teasing us with various smart bezel patents over the last year but a new patent application revealed by the USPTO today, provides us with how they're intending to implement this feature and the details will blow you away. Apple intends to introduce a method that employs a very cool secondary display scheme that utilizes a printed segmented electroluminescence display. Apple intends to use the secondary display to introduce a new set of illuminated indicators that would be able to morph into various controls for work and play. Illuminated gaming and productivity controls could be built into the face-side of the bezel and/or selected back-side areas of iOS devices like the iPad. Apple is about to raise the bar for interactive device interfaces that will, no doubt, put absolute fear into the hearts of every iOS device wannabe competitor.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of eight newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second granted patent report of the day we have a real surprise. Apple has just won a patent for an all-new Hybrid DisplayPort/USB 3.0 high speed connector. This new and extremely slim connector will work on all iOS devices like the iPod and eventually work its way through Apple's entire hardware lineup. Apple has just introduced another high-speed connector called Thunderbolt and we know that they're also working on a new fiber optic based connector for the future. Yet this latest hybrid connector looks like a winner and one that we might see come to market later this year in handhelds or in 2012 when Intel Macs debut with USB 3.0. But let's be honest here: Wouldn't we all like to see this debut on the iPhone 5? Hmm, I think that I'm hearing a thunderous yes on that question.
Yesterday, the US Patent Office published close to 35 patents for Apple and overnight we've dug up a few more interesting ones that we just couldn't get posted in good time. In today's patent report we're going to show you how Apple is advancing on two interesting market fronts. The first involves reinventing the Mini Jack for future wearable and miniature portable devices while the second involves pico-like projectors for portables like the iPhone and MacBook. The patent even hints of home theater and television systems. Curiously Apple is building an interesting portfolio of projector patents that seem to be inching their way to market ever so slowly.
A few minor yet interesting Apple patents published today show that Apple has invented a new remote camera control accessory that might come in handy for photo and video shoots with the family. It sounds like it may also be used for other purposes like a security system. Another patent shows that Apple is working on new audio controls for iOS devices and even has another version of a DJ app for the iPhone. Lastly, a news item out of Japan states that a new navigation based app is coming to the iPhone on March 18 to those thinking about buying a new Honda this year.
On January 12, 2011, BGR reported that a source had revealed to them that Apple's Photo Booth was coming to the iPad. The very next day 9 to 5 Mac added to this news by stating that they had discovered two new iOS 4.3 frameworks, mainly "PhotoBooth" and PhotoBoothEffects." And today, Patently Apple presents you with a knock out patent report that all but confirms that Photo Booth is indeed coming to the iPad as well as to the iPhone and iPod touch for that matter. In fact, it appears that there's even a major upgrade of Photo Booth being geared up for this summer's debut of OS X Lion that will make it available for all Mac hardware. And considering that it will debut on Macs with Intel's new powerful Sandy Bridge chipset, I'm sure it'll appear like Photo Booth on Steroids!
When you think about the basic logic behind Apple's Magic TrackPad, you could reasonably envision touch controls going well beyond glass. This only makes sense as Apple gains experience with touch technologies on different substrates. In a second patent application published today, Apple discusses a new way of bringing touch to aluminum and other metals. There, new discoveries may very well lead to the development of truly next-generational forms of a MacBook or perhaps just added magic to their MacBook Air. Considering that Apple also discusses introducing air-wave controls on Apple hardware, it might be the place to kick-start this little wonder of an idea. The Concept also extends to the iPod where we might even see a spiral-styled control UI surface amongst a series of new specialized hardware interfaces. While I think that Apple's new reconfigurable hardware concept sounds a little like their one time chameleon project, the fact remains that Apple now has the technological experience behind them to advance some of these great and wilder ideas. I think that Apple's TrackPad was only an experiment for what lies ahead. And it all sounds like a lot of fun to me.
On January, 13, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published several interesting patent applications from Apple. In this report we cover three that primarily relate to Apple's portables. Firstly, Apple is seeking ways to simply the iPod's old click wheel so that it could be much thinner with less moving parts. Secondly, Apple wants to change touch screen controls to be invisible when not in use and lastly, Apple wants to ham it up in FaceTime with a likely new fun app that could alter your voice so that it could sound like a scary alien, monster or ranting Tea Partier.
Some think that patents never get fulfilled. How Silly. Every major Apple hardware and software upgrade as well as every new-to-market product that Apple introduces is heavily patented on several fronts. Sneakily, today's patent application is technically a fulfilled patent. It's the patent that covers Apple's all-new 2010 touch-centric iPod nano. And, the patent may actually foretell of a new touch control being considered. For you patent sleuths, dig in!
Apple finally introduced a camera system with their latest iPod touch and they're already preparing for their next wave of advanced camera technology releases. We've already seen a new Apple patent showing us that they're considering a zoom camera accessory for iOS devices and in their latest patent application published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office we see that Apple is considering a new advanced camera flash system. The system covers such matters as a flash redirector, new imaging sensors like one that focuses in on scene conditions and much more. While the new advances may be found in future iOS devices, the patent clearly states that this new flash system could eventually be integrated into the iMac, Apple's MacBook lineup and yes – even a dedicated video camera. I mean, why not take over the world of digital photography, right?