Late last year Apple's all-new Mac Pro tower was revealed with a wildly advanced design. One year later and everything you wanted to know about the new Mac Pro is revealed in a series of six patent applications. Report updated 8:25am MST
Earlier today Dan Riccio, Apple's Senior VP of Hardware Engineering, introduced us to the new 27" iMac with a 5K Retina Display. A display that is absolutely stunning. It blows away any other all-in-one desktop on the market today. If you're in a profession that demands a high quality display be it for photography, film editing, graphic or fashion design, engineering, medical research and so forth, then the new iMac has no equal in its price range. It takes the desktop visual experience to a whole new level.Our report focuses in on Dan Riccio's presentation.
Late last month we posted a report titled "Microsoft considers a new Splittable Xbox Controller for Surface Tablet Game Play," and therein noted that the smartest approach to gaming controls on a tablet actually came by way of Apple's cool patent about backside touch controls for the iPad. Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple this patent. With Apple bringing their new gaming "Metal" technology to iOS 8 next month, we're bound to see console quality gaming for the first time coming to iDevices like the iPad. In fact we already know that the BioShock game is going to be one of the first debuting in September. If backside gaming controls were introduced later this year, Apple would certainly have iPads flying off the shelves for Christmas. In July we posted a report titled "Apple's CEO is sharply focused on the iPad with Hints of Significant Innovation on the Way." It's unknown at this time if Apple's backside controls will actually make it for 2014, but this is certainly considered a "significant innovation" for the iPad. I think this would send shockwaves through the industry if Apple pulled it off in the not-too-distant future. Yet as always, only time will tell.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 58 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a patent that is titled "Combining power from multiple resonance magnetic receivers in resonance magnetic power system," which relate generally to utilizing a wireless power transmission in a portable computing environment. In 2012 Patently Apple was first to report on Apple's future magnetic resonance power system. In 2013 we covered the same system with far more detail and later posted a report titled "The Cordless Home is now in Reach with Magnetic Resonance," discussing the new power system in the larger context of how it was progressing within the industry. Today we see for the first time how peripherals like Apple's Magic Mouse and future wireless keyboard will integrate magnetic resonators that will be powered by the new power system hidden within a future iMac or Mac Pro tower.
On July 24, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Liquid Activated Failsafe for Portable Computing Devices. Apple's invention generally relates to computing devices such as next generation MacBooks incorporating new failsafe mechanisms that are designed to prevent electrical shorts in the event that it comes in contact with any liquid.
On June 26, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals the development of an LED based keyboard. Although last month's report titled "Apple Rethinks the Keyboard with Gesture Controls & In-Key Displays to Support Pictograms, Symbols and Glyphs" was far more detailed than todays – it still goes to show us that Apple is continuing their work on this front. This particular invention also points to multitouch displays might be coming to future Macs.
On February 27, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a number of interesting possible future features for Macs, televisions or even a car dashboard. With the addition of new sensors hidden in Macs, users will be able to control some device functionality with in-air hand gesturing. Apple's new invention could also provide users with superior lighting for FaceTime videoconferencing and more.
On February 06, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Touch-Sensitive Button with Two Levels." One aspect of the invention will allow a future MacBook to save power when the trackpad isn't in use. Apple notes that "scanning the touch sensor for touch events when the button is not depressed can be an inefficient use of power, especially in mobile devices running on battery power." Apple's workaround solution was to invent a two-level touch sensitive trackpad.
On October 17, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals that their 2012 ultrathin iMac was manufactured by using a very sophisticated robotic force. The insane design precision didn't come about by accident. Apple's latest patent application describes a robotic solution created by Apple for the iMac and beyond. Apple's iMac webpage as noted above states that Apple re-imagined everything, re-engineered everything about the iMac and today's patent filing proves that out. This is Apple's second robotic invention. Apple's first design was for a robotic arm for manufacturing the iPhone that we covered back in January. Lastly, we present you with a secondary patent published today titled "Cosmetic Defect Reduction in Anodized Parts." It's Apple's new "finishing" bath designed to degrease, de-smut, anodize and chemically polish the iMac and other future iDevices until they reflect Apple's aesthetically insane finish so that they can give it their official stamp of approval: Designed by Apple in California.
In 2010 Apple revealed that they were experimenting with new features for a future iteration of their magic mouse that would include gesture profiles such as tilt, tap, nudge, scoop and slide. The invention also covered force sensors and more. Again in 2012 Apple tweaked their invention so that a future version of the Magic Mouse could process combinations of kinematical inputs such as force and velocity. Today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals yet further tweaks have been added to a future version of their Magic Mouse which includes inertial sensors. The hybrid sensor system could also apply to future MacBooks.
On July 11, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their invention that generally relates to alternative coatings for rare earth magnets and more specifically the plating of rare earth magnets with aluminum. The invention covers a magnet surface coating which can be adapted to match the overall look, shape, and feel of the device to which it is attached. The wild twist is that Apple is considering this magnetic coating for the back lid of a future MacBook application. Updated 4:30 AM MST
On May 30, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals Apple's gaze detection technology. It should be noted that Apple's current patent is a divisional patent which means that Apple is breaking this aspect of their 2008 parent patent out as an individual patent. Technically, Apple had this technology in a patent prior to any other competitor including Samsung which actually implemented it first in their Galaxy S4 smartphone earlier this year. Apple also added gaze technologies to a January patent in context to an HDTV related patent and the likes of Sony and BlackBerry are working on similar features. Today, when you put your iPhone to your face the display is turned off. This is one of the technologies found in Apple's gaze detection patent. In the future, gaze technology will be able to stop a video when you look away or stop your tunes from playing based on this gaze detection feature. At the end of the day, Apple's gaze detection technology is really more about conserving power than it is about providing a flashy gimmick.
On April 25, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new In-Plane Keyboard Illumination system designed to allow future MacBooks to be even thinner. Apple's engineering teams are always pushing the boundaries of industrial design to deliver the very best products in the marketplace.
On April 9, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a new granted patent from Apple that reveals a new feature that has yet to come to market. As such, Patently Apple will present this granted patent in the form a new patent application report that goes deeper into the technology presented. Apple has been razzed for a while now for not having a technology for the iPhone that is similar to Samsung's Beam that lets users share large files from one smartphone to another using NFC. Apple's newly granted patent provides such an interactions and so much more. Apple's solution works between a Mac and iPhone and provides editing software to crop, scale and adjust images. Apple had the technology mapped out in January 2010, or about 30 months prior to Samsung's public release of this feature for the Galaxy SIII.
Patently Apple has been the only one that has been pounding the table for a notebook tablet hybrid going all the way back to 2008 and prior to any talk of this from the Intel camp who is now preparing their Ultrabook Convertible for release this summer. In February we posted another report that discussed integrated touch displays coming to Macs eventually and the naysayers surfaced once again to say that it was a brain dead idea. Well, today the US Patent and Trademark Office revealed Apple's patent that is in fact about a true hybrid notebook tablet in all its glory. The patent filing includes details of a very cool display with a retractable magnetic mechanism that hides itself once detached from the MacBook's main body. Today, on paper at least, Apple has finally revealed their first patent filing about a hybrid notebook-tablet with actual details.
On March 28, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an invention that generally relates to a haptics device and, more particularly, to magnetically permeable materials in haptic devices. The new haptics for iDevices and the MacBook will provide crisper sensations while avoiding over sharp feedback.
On March 21, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a series of newly proposed protective mechanisms designed for future iDevices and MacBooks that will protect these devices that are about to fall to the floor or other surface. The invention for a protective mechanism is configured to selectively alter a center of mass of the electronic device. One design covers the use of an air foil while another covers the ejection of the battery in order to reduce device damage. Apple has come up with quite an elaborate design.
Apple Reveals Cool Depth Perception System with a Unique Laser Projection Keyboard Feature for iDevices
On January 31, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published twenty patent applications from Apple and the most intriguing of all relates to their invention concerning a new depth perception system. While Apple has worked on "presence detection systems" before relating to MacBooks and iDevices, this new system goes beyond mere detection. For instance, in one application, Apple describes the new system integrated into an iPad that would be able to project a laser based keyboard onto a table. That would definitely be considered a wow-feature that could excite consumers. Of course, that's if they actually get it to market before the completion steals their idea, which is highly likely.
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."
In an interview with AllThingsD after the iPhone 5's Special Event held in September, Phil Schiller stated to Ina Fried that "wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into the wall, so it's not clear how much convenience they add." Schiller added "Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated." Obviously Schiller was fully aware of the wireless charging system that the Crazy Ones in Cupertino were developing and today the US Patent Office published the patent application behind Apple's future charging system that could charge an entire virtual charging area worth of devices at one time without the need of a charging pad of any kind. The catch is that you'll have to purchase a next generation iMac with upgraded peripherals for it to work.
On October 25, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new universal connector is on the way. Then again, it may already be with us via Apple's new Lighting connector. The illustration in our cover graphic illustrates that the head of the connector will have multiple openings just like today's Lightning connector. There's another major connection between Apple's description of the new connector and today's Lightning connector and our report lays that out. In April 2010 we pointed to Apple's patent covering a new mini tower in the works and Tim Cook confirmed that Apple will be updating the Mac Pro in Q4 2013. This is where this new universal connector will really shine. The new connector on the next generation Mac Pro will likely have a single universal port design that will cover everything from USB, HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt. In the end, there may be more to Apple's new Lightning connector than originally thought.
Three years ago we called for an ultrathin iMac and today Apple delivered it. The new thinner iMac design was mainly accomplished by eliminating the optical drive as they did with their MacBook Air and other MacBooks over time. Yet to be fair to Apple's industrial design team lead by the fanatical Sir Jony Ive, they sweated over the details to refine the LCD process and even used a new welding process called "Friction Stir Welding" in order to get the thinner design just right. And in the heart of this new beast lies an all-new hybrid hard drive that Apple calls a Fusion Drive; a drive that fulfills a 2011 patent application.
Last week Patently Apple broke the news about an Apple invention describing a new laminate notebook with a hidden display in its lid. The basic idea behind this concept had been around for some time and Intel actually presented a prototype of it at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in January. Intel's Ultrabook prototype, dubbed "Nikiski," featured a "transparent mouse-pad spanning the width of the device. When closed, the pad made it possible to continue to view the top-third of the device's screen, with the pad acting as a touch-screen interface, enabling the user to view and interact with a custom Metro UI app for quick access to social media and important information without the need to open up the Ultrabook." Coincidentally or not, this just happens to be a page right out of one of Apple's recent patent applications filed for years ago. Today we'll review the highlights of this patent that interestingly provides us with a few twists along the way.
On September 6, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their continuing work on virtual keyboards for both the iMac and MacBook. For the MacBook, such work could lead to a future hybrid notebook/eBook iDevice.
On June 21, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of utility centric patent applications from Apple that cover security, display luminance, flash memory, mobile device simulation and more. In the big picture, the vast majority of Apple's annual patent-count is derived from utility patents. These are the kinds of patents that take care of all the tiniest of details behind Apple's most popular products, processes and manufacturing. They might not represent the visionary side of Apple, but they sure keep the trains running on time. They're also part of Apple's legendary and fanatical detailing process that goes into every upgrade and next generation product. On the flipside, we sure hope that Apple's creative and visionary side reemerges because the volume of patents of late in that area have been nothing shy of anemic. Here's to hoping that Apple is in the process of changing gears and inventing their next generation of knock-out products for us to enjoy.