Apple iPod

A New Accessory Transceiver could turn iPod Touch into an iPhone

1 Cover - adding an accessory transceiver to an iPod touch + 
There were 27 Apple patent applications published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Ten of those dealt with accessory functionality such as identification processes, communication techniques, application protocols and all manner of boredom. Yet one stood out from the pack. It's about an accessory transceiver that could provide a mobile device like the iPod touch with access to a mobile telephone network. Did that catch your attention?  

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Apple Working on Zoom Lens Accessory for iOS Devices

1 Cover - Apple Inc, future optical zoom lens for media players

Apple has just introduced their new iPod touch with an HD cam for both video and point and shoot style stills and according to a new patent application published this morning by the US Patent and Trademark Office, they're already working on a new zoom lens accessory. While the patent presents several methods of attaching a zoom lens to a media player like the iPod touch, the main focus is on utilizing an advanced magnet array coupling approach that could actually be personalized to reduce the risk of theft. Other accessories using this technique could include mini speakers or another kind of microphone. Just the mere idea of Apple introducing advanced zoom lenses for their leading world class media players has got to have competing camera OEMs choking on their morning coffee.

 

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Apple May Add Speed Enhanced Autofocus to Future Cameras

1 - Cover - apple - autofocus camera feature for iSight and Portables, iPhone etc 
On August 19, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that appears to be describing a next generation autofocus feature for future iOS devices that will add speed enhanced autofocus operations. Technically speaking, any of the camera features described in Apple's patent could equally apply to iSight.

 

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Is Apple Describing the Next iPod Shuffle or Something New?

1 - COVER - HMM... WHAT'S IN THE FINE PRINT - WITH HMM... - IN BLUE 
A new Apple patent that surfaced this month was found to be describing features that could one day unfold in either a next generation iPod Shuffle or iPod Nano. The patent doesn't provide us with a clear patent figure to distinguish which of the two devices that the patent really pertains to. It could be an iPod Shuffle that will be gaining a touch display or an iPod touch that will be gaining VoiceOver. The lines are definitely blurred. This brief report points you to a few key features that may eventually work themselves into a future iteration of one of Apple's smaller media players. Then again, the patent may be pointing to a device yet unknown.

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Apple Reveals Technology Required for Future Miniature Products

1 cover - Apple patent - contactless plug detect mechanisms 
One of Apple's newly published patents today is about detecting a plug placed in an electronic device without physically contacting the plug. What's the significance of such a technology? Well, with devices being designed ever smaller and devices like an iWatch being considered, the traditional design for plug detection isn't going to work. Apple's patent discusses their new solution which paves the way for next generation wearable devices and more.

 

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Apple Finally Designs a Way to Share Your Music Headset

1A - Cover Monophonic Mode Control for iPod, iPhone etc, v3 final 
There are times when you want to listen to your music with just one earbud so that you could also hear what's happening around you. You may be a passenger in a car or bus, be at work or just taking a walk. If you do that today, you'd lose the quality of sound which is in stereo. Apple has now designed a way for you to switch to monophonic mode on your media player so that you could receive superior sound when only using a single earbud. The advantage of the system is that it also allows you to share your headset with your significant other while walking. Each earbud will be set to monophonic sound with a simple click. So finally a couple could be in-tune with their music and be able to share and listen to new tunes at the same time.

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Apple Introduces the Incredible Shape Shifting Device Interface

1 - cover - Apple Inc - the incredible shape shifting 3D Device Ui 
On June 24, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals various concepts behind a newly advanced shape shifting device interface that could transform a flat interface into a physical 3D embodiment. It could create a physical tactile keypad on a future iPhone or iPod Classic interface and technically provide the iPad with a physical-like keyboard. This incredible concept is packed with wild concepts that could transform a device automatically by simply being in a room with a notable temperature change. The concept could alter an iPod Classic to be a TV remote with various buttons in a configurable interface that will blow your mind. This is definitely a candidate for patent of the year and if Apple ever gets this out to market, it's ball game over for the iPhone and iPod wannabe's of this world.

 

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Apple's Vision of a Solar Cell iPhone Supports Prototype in the Wild

1 Cover, Apple Inc, Solar Cell iPhone 
One of Apple's more interesting patents kicking off 2010 revealed their aspirations of engineering solar powered media players. In Apple's second patent on this very subject we get to peek at more of the detailing behind their engineering vision. Yet it boils down to two main points. Firstly we see that Apple envisions utilizing solar cell technology right across the board from iPod to iPad. Secondly and perhaps most intriguingly, we see Apple detailing how they'll be able to integrate cell panels beneath their multi-touch surface as opposed to it being applied to the top surface of their media players as previously thought. This revelation ensures us that Apple won't be sacrificing design for function. The reason that it's intriguing is that it supports the design shift that Apple's iPhone prototype took. By switching the iPhone's backside substrate to a non-metal surface would clearly open the door for Apple to implement a double-sided solar panel design. This would double the amount of power that the cells would be able to draw in order for them to power the media player longer. While this technology won't be ready for primetime in 2010 to be sure, we could seriously see this power assisted technology make its debut sooner than most skeptics think.

 

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Apple Patent May Shed Light on Recent Protective Film Ban

1 cover - retardation film 
Who amongst us knew that Apple had a secret retardation solution for their media players? Surely not I. But there it is in black and white, a granted patent for one of Apple's super secrets of how their display stays so crisp under the most demanding of circumstances. In case you didn't know, Apple's Engineering Team responsible for display and touch technology is as fanatical about their craft as Jonathan Ive is about Industrial Design. Two of the senior display engineer's on this team include Cheng Chen who has a PhD in Liquid crystal physics/optics and is behind Apple's upcoming iPad as is John Zhong who won an honorary award in 2009 from The Society for Information Display (SID) for his exceptional contributions to display technology. Today's granted patent presents us with a basic overview of this team's use of retardation film on media displays so that we could continue to enjoy crisp imagery even when we're wearing sunglasses. At the end of the day, Apple's granted patent may even provide us with a little reasoning behind Apple's recent move to ban protective screen film from the Apple Store.

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Apple: Plug a Digital Cam into Your iPod or iPhone

1 cover - cool media player concepts v2

Yesterday a couple of oddball Apple Media Player patents came to light and yet each was important in its own right. One was so obvious, that I almost missed it. Being that this might be the year that I finally take the leap into digital photography, I saw Apple's patent present a digital camera, like an EOS Rebel from Canon, connected directly to an iPod. Surely this must be available now, no? NNNNN-No. I called my local Apple Store and explained what I was looking for, what was in yesterday's patent - and asked if they had it in stock. No, it doesn't exist, yet – was the reply. It may be coming to the iPad but no word yet for an iPod or iPhone, stated the Apple Rep. So unless my local Apple Store is full of idiots, Apple's patent has yet to come to life. The patent states that you'll be able to plug a still or video cam directly into your iPod or iPhone. Whether this is being reserved for Light Peak or USB 3.0 is unknown, but this is a very cool idea. The second patent discovered yesterday simply adds a little more proof that Apple is working on a rotatable video camera element that enables you to take regular videos of friends and events while being able to turn the camera lens inward so as to become a video cam for video calling. This is Apple's second patent this quarter discussing this feature.   

 

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Apple's Media Players May Gain Cool Sense Line Controls

COVER - TOUCH SENSE LINES, II   

On Tuesday, a very insightful granted patent of Apple's came to light describing an intelligent bezel. Today, that very same theme continues and goes much further this time around to include what Apple describes as intelligent "sense lines." Sense lines could surround the display of a media player unseen under the multi-touch display glass as an alternative to a physical bezel which was described in Tuesday's granted patent in context with a tablet.  In covering Tuesday's patent report, Paul Boutin of VentureBeat wondered if Apple's technology would apply to an iPhone. "The clickwheel makes the iPod simple and relaxing to use, rather than fumbling through menus and pressing buttons. I can operate an iPod while jogging. Wish I could say that for my iPhone." Well, apparently Apple is thinking of doing just that. Though instead of using a virtual click wheel, Apple is proposing touch based sense lines that could control the devices functions like sound or any other menu items that you would traditionally find on a click wheel based menu system. The difference is that you'd be able to find your most valued menu items without scrolling and in one lightning quick click.

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Apple's iPod Touch to Gain Video Camera and LED Backlighting

IPod touch to gain video camera - Cover 

On January 28, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's iPod Touch. The patent covers both the iPod touch and iPhone gaining a video camera. Being that the iPhone 3G-S now has that built-in, it's obvious that Apple's iPod touch is next in line.  A secondary patent of interest relates to the iPod touch gaining an LED backlight display sometime in the future.

 

 

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Apple Thinks Green Again with Solar Cell Panels for Media Players

 

COVER - SOLAR PANEL POWERED MEDIA PLAYERS 

Last week Apple introduced us to a Smart Home Energy Management System that had every tree hugging site on the planet cheering Apple on to the n-th degree. Well today's patent application from Apple should provide an encore for this audience, because Apple is seriously working on reinventing their media players to operate, for the most part, using solar cell panel technology; Panels that could cover a portion of the front or back covers of portable devices that are made from a transparent or semi-transparent material. One of the cool factors to Apple's technology is that if one or more of the solar cells are obstructed from a light source, the voltage output of the solar cells can use a technique described as first and second cell chain reactions to ensure that the device retains a constant source of power. The system works with a regular battery to ensure that in times of complete darkness the media players will still be functional. What will they think of next?

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Apple's Media Players will One Day be Both Portable TV & DVR

Apple Media Players as TV, DVR 

On January 14, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters coming to Apple's Media Players. In Q4 2010, Apple introduced their fifth generation iPod nano that introduced a video camera and a new way to not only listen to the radio, but to pause and tag it as well. While today's patent covers this new iPod nano feature – it also goes to where Apple's media players could venture into next: HDTV. In the very same manner that radio is handled today, the patent carries this concept through to television - Not only for watching it, but for recording it as well, even on the go. To me that sounds a lot like a portable DVR - and that would be very cool. The patent makes it crystal clear that it will handle programming that is found on over-the-air radio or television (TV), satellite radio or TV, cable TV or music services, Internet streaming broadcasts and so forth. With the iPod Classic, you'll use the scroll wheel to turn the channel and the larger media players will have a virtual dial with a more elaborate interface. All in all, Apple is aiming to add cable or satellite TV to their media players and to confirm that, the USPTO just published a push button antenna patent from Apple just after Christmas.  

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Apple Thinks Different with Acceleration Navigation for iPod/iPhone

ACCELERATION NAV DEVICE & SYSTEM OVERVIEW 

On December 10, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple revealing the next chapter for Media Player navigation. Apple's Media Player revolution began with touch displays for navigating menus and now Apple wants to introduce one-handed acceleration navigation methodologies that could also be used with future systems including a television. The technology will be both built-into future media players and available for older media players via a new accessory. Apple provides us with an overview of the range of motion that acceleration navigation encompasses such as the Flick, Slide Twist, Spin, Tilt, rotation and up and down motions and so forth. If you don't mind looking like a spaz, then this form of gesturing will certainly accelerate your one-handed functionality. That could come in handy while working out, jogging or even mountain climbing. Okay, the last one was a joke - so sue me.  

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Apple Media Players to Gain New Creative Indicators

1A - Future Apple Medial Player Error Indicators - Cover Icon 

On December 3, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals various concepts behind a new series of future media player error indicators. The indicators will be used to notify users that the device is unable to proceed with a particular function the user has requested – be it playing a tune, a movie, a TV show or displaying a photo. Apple's patent presents us with indicators that represent a broken DVD, broken CD and alternatives like a broken projector or guitar.  Each of these error indicators will be accompanied by a matching sound effect that is designed to be both fun and handy for those using headphones while in transit or while training.

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Apple Plans Touch Based Graphic Equalizer for Media Players

GRAPHIC EQUALIZER FOR IPHONE, IPOD 

On Thanksgiving Day 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's iPhone and iPod family.  Apple's patent reveals that a more robust graphic equalizer will be added to their media players sometime in the future. Beyond today's basic Equalizer (EQ) settings that are found on various iPods, Apple plans to implement a more sophisticated virtual touch-based Graphic Equalizer interface for the iPhone and other iPods - especially the iPod touch. This will provide music enthusiasts with much greater control in fine tuning their favorite music. There's even a hint, however small, that a Graphic Equalizer could be designed to illuminate on other accessories like a mouse or notebook touchpad which, in my opinion, would be very, very cool.

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Apple Introduces New Athletic Sensory Technologies & Devices in Development

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Within a year it's been for Apple patents regarding Athletic Sensory Technology! In March we read about advanced sensors relating to ski and biking equipment. In April we read about sensors in cyclist's helmets with GPS and head-gesturing. In June we were blown away with news about advanced Sports-TV technologies covering kick boxing, wrestling, NASCAR racing and more and in September Apple rocked the gym with new sensory technology for treadmills and other gym equipment. Today's newly published patent is no less exciting with new sensory devices being devised by Apple. The two main devices include a new headset/earplug system and an arm or belt band all of which incorporate advanced sensors that monitor your heart and oxygen levels without the need of using a traditional chest strap-on system. Apple's patent also covers a new pedometer which of course was incorporated into their latest video iPod nano. So the technology is slowing crawling to market and perhaps we'll see more exciting components described in this year's patents come to life in 2010.  

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Future Apple iPod Touch to Have Ejectable Component Assembly

 FUTURE IPOD TOUCH EJECTABLE COMPONENT ASSEMBLY FIG 1 
On October 29, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the likely next chapters for Apple's iPod Touch Media Players.  Apple's patent focuses on adding a new ejectable component assembly to couple removable modules. The removable modules may include, for example, integrated circuit cards (ICCs), chip cards, memory cards, flash memory cards, microprocessor cards, smart cards, such as subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, or combinations thereof. In some embodiments, the removable module may contain electronic circuitry from which the electronic device may read data and/or to which the device may write data. Apple's iPhone already has this feature as presented in the report.  

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Apple Patent Explores Advancing iPod Classic

IPOD CLASSIC SMALLER

It has recently been said that the days of the dedicated music player have come and gone – and with the advent of the new iPod Nano adding features like an FM radio with iTunes Tagging and video recording, the argument could be made that the iPod Classic is need of an identity facelift.  Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office revealed a patent application that could point to one of the possible next chapters for Apple's iPod Classic. The patent introduces us to the concept of "switchable sensor configurations."  That basically boils down to adding swiping and gesturing capabilities to the iPod Classic's traditional scroll wheel. This would allow the iPod Classic to add much of the same types of apps that the Nano just received in addition to introducing the ability to control applications and enter text better and so forth. Apple first advanced this concept in March 2008 when it presented us with the notion of adding Cover Flow and business apps to the iPod Classic and more recently, presented us with the Classic having the ability to use zooming features.  It's evident that Apple is exploring ways to advance the iPod Classic without destroying its unique place and retro look within their media player line up.

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Find out where Apple's latest iTunes Tagging Technology is Going

ITUNE TAGGING ICON

Apple introduced their next generation iPod Nano yesterday which comes with a new marketing feature called "iTunes Tagging." This nifty little feature is going to be hot and one of the most appreciated features over the years. We've all been there. We hear a tune on the radio and missed the DJ's description of the tune – or they ripped it off too quickly to catch. Yikes – it's a tune you want, a tune you can't get out of your head and you just can't find the name of that tune. Well, for those buying the new iPod Nano, that's an inconvenience of the past.  Apple's new iTunes Tagging allows you to see the metadata pertaining to that tune and allows you to tag it so that when you get home, the tunes information is simply sitting in a file on iTunes ready for you to review and buy it.  Tagging is simply a click of the iPod's click wheel. Apple's latest feature has been in the works at Apple for years. Apple finally executing on this feature fulfills one of their 2008 patent applications which richly details the advances of tagging and where it could be going in the bigger scheme of things.   

  

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Apple Reveals a One-Touch Ejection System for iPod/iPhone

ONE TOUCH IPOD-IPHONE EJECTION SYSTEM - JULY 2009

On July 23, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new one-touch concept for ejecting your iPod or iPhone from iTunes on your computer. In the future, the USB cable connector supplied with your new iPod or iPhone will come with a built-in capacitive-sensing system that includes conductors that generate fringing electric fields. When your fingers approach the USB cable to eject your device, the system will sense this and immediately go into shut down mode to prevent data loss. 

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Apple Patent Reveals Multi-Touch Scroll-Wheel & Larger Display iPod


1 ICON - TOUCH WHEEL

On June 4, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals various concepts behind a newly advanced multi-touch scroll-wheel in development. Apple's current iPod Classic uses a single-point contact Click-Wheel which severely limits the types of applications that could be controlled on this iPod. Today's patent advances a new concept of multi-touch instructions that could go beyond circular motions to that of a wide range of input. Different regions of sensor elements can aid in sensing gestures that traverse the center of the scroll wheel. For example, linear motion, such as a swipe across the scroll wheel, would support an app like Cover Flow. Multitouch input would also enable zooming applications that could be used with an iLife app like iPhoto or an iWork app like pages or better yet, keynote. Apple introduces us to "Gesture mode" that will activate these advanced features. Lastly, if Apple's FIG.1 noted above is to be taken at face value, then it would indicate that the iPod Classic could be getting a much larger display and smarter scroll wheel. Considering the apps it will be able to run, it stands to reason. Whether this pops up during Apple's WWDC next week is unknown – but it's not that much of a stretch. Traditionally however, patents don't always translate to market that quickly. We could hope though. 

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Patent Brief: Apple Thinks Unibody iPod Classic & Beyond

JONATHAN IVES

Apple introduced a breakthrough unibody design for their latest MacBook line-up last fall and proudly produced a video wherein we see Jonathan Ives, Senior Design VP, Dan Riccio, Product Design VP and Bob Mansfield, Senior Mac Hardware VP review the revolutionary manufacturing process and hear their thinking behind it all. The unibody is a seamless enclosure carved from a single piece of aluminum. That's exactly what Apple describes in one of their latest patent applications revealed today. And while the MacBook is one of the products covered by this patent, it is in fact the iPod that is the design in focus. The thin sharp design, shown below, appears to reflect a future iteration of the iPod Classic - being that it still retains the classic iPod click-wheel. Apple's patent states that "the sheet metal may be formed in such a way that the final part looks like it was machined down from a large thick slab of material. By utilizing sheet metal, the overall cost of the part can be reduced." While the new process will apply to a plethora of future devices on the drawing board, Apple's mention of a television is perhaps the one that we all secretly long for. That's for another day. For now, it's the unibody iPod Classic with a very cool aluminized makeover that Apple is focusing on. 

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Light-Transmissive Logo Coming to Apple's iPod



DDDD

On April 10, 2008, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's patent application titled Invisible, Light-Transmissive Display System.  Apple's patent generally relates to device display systems, and more particularly to invisible, light-transmissive display systems that become visible when illuminated from behind. The patent illustrates the technology being used in notebooks and the iPod. In the case of the iPod, the technology will allow the Apple logo and brand name "iPod" to be illuminated in future iterations of their popular MP3 player.

 

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