On February 28, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals technology that could support a future iPhone with satellite capabilities. Satellite phones or satphones are popular on expeditions into remote areas where terrestrial cellular service is unavailable. Apple's patent filing states that the use of satellites for personal and business communications is an important technique in global communication networks. Satellite communication systems provide obvious benefits that allow users to transmit and receive communication signals over a large footprint.
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Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs told Biographer Walter Isaacson that he'd "like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it." In that very same timeline, Apple's engineers were working on his dream TV and in a patent application published this morning, we get a tiny glimpse of the enhanced audio system that may be accompanying this future HDTV. The system will also intelligently integrate surround sound-like quality for video conferencing for the home or work. Apple's TV will also be able to work with FaceTime and create a unique audio experience whereby the voices from multiple participants will be heard in the exact direction that they're positioned on the screen. While it's not the Killer HDTV patent we're all still waiting for, it's the next best thing. Today we could safely say that Apple's Killer HDTV is real, at least on paper.
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When it comes to the topic of Apple + TV, let's be frank. The world is waiting for an Apple HDTV to deliver the next great thing. But like with the iPhone, patents dated back to 1999 or eight years prior to seeing a real world product. It's just a fact of life that Great Products take time to work through the system. Today, Apple has revealed how a future Apple TV set-top-box will be able to access additional information about a TV show, event or movie that you're about to watch. It will be able to provide Apple TV users with contextual information on actors in a movie that you're about to watch or a summary of a keynote, for example. Interestingly, the additional context-base information will be sent to the user's iPad or iPhone that will work in sync with Apple TV and the content being presented on your television via your local cable or satellite provider. While today's invention is definitely not as ambitious as some TV oriented projects have been in the past, and there have been many of them over the years, it's probably a more realistic and humble starting point that seems to be only a stone's throw away.
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Wow, out of nowhere newly granted patents for Apple reveal MacBooks, an iMac and possibly a TV having cellular and television circuitry built in. If that wasn't enough, Apple reveals a possible future iPad with a built-in stand that incorporates a cellular antenna. Why say more – take a look for yourself.
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The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-five newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. This particular report covers a single, wild and crazy patent that touches on advancing television, advanced 5D technology, interactive gaming, teleconferencing, advanced tactile feedback technology, virtual reality data gloves and even a unique touch signature for starting a future vehicle. Is that wild enough for you?
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Last week Apple's patent application for an advanced TV remote was a bit of a stunner and the news about Apple's future HDTV keeps hitting the news. Just yesterday we learned of the Foxconn-Sharp alliance that's key to ramping up HDTV production for Apple's TV in the future. The day before that we learned of Apple being granted a patent for multi-touch skins that could wrap around a future TV remote so that controls could reside on the front, back or sides. Today, a new patent application was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office that provides us with a little more information about their new remote. This time around Apple details the remote's "learning system" that will always keep it up to date with the latest features via iCloud. While it's not an earth shattering invention by itself, it's all part and parcel of Apple's basket of all things Apple TV. The more we learn about their future HDTV system through patents, the better we'll understand their grander vision. This very much reminds me of the ramp up of patents in 1996, the year prior to the iPhone's debut. The buzz and anticipation surrounding the iPhone was "heart-thumpingly-insane" and the late Steve Jobs simply hit it out of the park for us. Time will tell if Tim Cook and Phil Schiller can engineer that same kind of buzz for Apple's HDTV – but one thing is for sure: they're off to a great start.
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Yesterday, Apple was granted a very interesting and important patent regarding a very specific TV Display technology. The patent basically related to Apple's advancement of a little known technology called Fringe Field Switching (FSS). Apple's research pushed the technology so that it could now power a large HDTV. Previous versions of FSS couldn't accommodate such large displays. The underlying technology is an off-shoot of IPS called S-IPS. It's a technology that provides superior performance and color gamut with high luminosity. IPS technology is currently being used in Apple's iMac and the patent for IPS is held by Sharp. This was one of the key points that surfaced in a news report out Taiwan today that basically confirms that the Foxconn – Sharp deal directly equates to a future Apple HDTV.
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Today marks the day that Apple takes another leap forward in multi-touch technology. Apple has just won a knock out Multi-Touch Skin technology that will allow Apple to create next generation devices that are multi-dimensional in nature like a multi-touch sphere or a TV remote that has multiple touch areas for different controls. Apple could license the technology to car companies for creating multi-touch skin based steering wheels that could be responsive to gestures to turn the radio on or answer the phone for hands free operation. It could apply to sporting apparatus or even on guitar frets so as to provide feedback to a music analysis program. If Apple gave their competitors a headache in court with their traditional Multi-Touch patents, then they're competitors are going to need a lot more Tylenol once they realize what Apple has just won: Boom!
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The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of nineteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. One of the patents that stood out from the crowd this morning relates to a high refresh rate LCD called FFS that Apple clearly states is suited for a TV. In fact, Apple's technology advances FFS so that it could work with large screen HDTVs, as previous versions of FSS couldn't accommodate such large displays. The technology is an off-shoot of IPS called S-IPS. It's a technology that provides superior performance and color gamut with high luminosity. IPS technology is currently being used in Apple's iMac – which stems from this patent.
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As rumors swirl and dance about in the blogosphere about Apple's coming HDTV, an Apple patent application pops up just in time to tease us about some of the possible new features that their TV remote may offer. While some of the features may apply to Apple's own HDTV, Apple's planned invasion of this market means attacking the entire market which includes TV's already in the marketplace today. One of Apple's wild new universal remote features works like this: you take a photo of your current TV remote and it sends it to iCloud for analysis. It then sends a "virtual copy" of your remote, functionality and all, to your iPhone. You're now able to control your current TV with Apple's advanced universal remote and enjoy all of Apple's TV remote features and likely tie-in products and services. Is that wild enough for you?
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The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-two newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. This morning's second report is focused on a single Apple TV patent. It's a patent regarding episodic TV and it's another patent credited to the late, great, Steve Jobs.
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One of the projects that I've always believed to have been on Apple's roadmap was that of a Smart-HDTV – even when Apple kept insisting publicly that it was just a "hobby." Year after year Apple's patents were indicating that the HDTV project was still alive and well. In fact there was enough evidence to call it an official trend worth following. So we opened a special Apple TV archive on our site to keep tabs on this project's progress. Today, the news broke that Steve Jobs had been working on this project until the very end and that Apple may have finally cracked the Smart TV mystery.
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On October 20, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their work on optical transmitting cables, connectors and adapters. I first thought that the patent was simply describing Thunderbolt until I saw the illustrations as you could see above. They have nothing to do with Thunderbolt. These kinds of cables are usually used with HDTV's and other home electronics. While optical cables are interesting and I'm sure that they'll likely work with a future iteration of Apple TV – I wonder what else Apple may have in mind. Interestingly, the patent graphics make it appear as if the product is in its final stages of design. If you have any specific ideas as to where Apple could use such cables, beyond what is presented in the patent application, make sure to send in your comments.
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The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 13 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today and one was a real stunner. Today's report focuses on this advanced 3D display and imaging system that packs one hell of a wallop. Apple's patent covers a wild 3D system that could generate an invisible space in front of the user that could allow them to work with holographic images or project their hands onto a screen in front of them to manipulate switches or move pieces of virtual paper or parts of a presentation. One could only image how this could be applied to 3D gaming, business or medical applications in the future. This is Apple's second major revelation about such an advanced 3D system and many supporting patent applications would suggest that the system is progressing quite well in Apple's research labs. The good news, is that future iOS devices will be one of the drivers behind this new beast. This is definitely one of Apple's coolest ideas to date.
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Last week the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's iBooks. For children's books, Apple has devised a number of new gesture options to make reading more fun and interactive. One such gesture will allow a child to tap on a word and have an associated picture, animation or video pop-up to make that word come to life. For those learning a foreign language, Apple has devised a gesture to have a word present itself in the student's native language so as to quicken the learning process. Apple's ideas also seem to cross over to electronic magazines where tapping on certain words could pop up a related widget. For example, when reading a financial magazine article on Apple (AAPL), tapping on its NASDAQ symbol would automatically open a financial widget showing Apple's current stock price. Yet where Apple's patent application really shines is in its description of a new chip that future iOS devices could end up adopting. Our report reveals the nature of this little wonder that could definitely add a little zing to future iOS devices.
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On June 23, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for AppleTV. The proposed system is described by Apple as being an enhanced TV widget paradigm. While Google has gotten an early start in this arena of TV meets the Internet, the system is basically working with static widgets. Apple's paradigm involves taking widgets to the next level of live widgets that will interact with TV shows like NBC's "The Voice" so that users could directly vote for their favorite candidates from their HDTV effortlessly. The system will also work with live sports like football with other live content is in the works. The system still involves Apple's AppleTV set-top-box but with a twist. It will finally hook up with regular Cable TV networks! Now that could be hot!
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Today the US Patent and Trademark Office published Apple's patent which relates to FaceTime's picture-in-picture effect that is implemented on mobile devices like the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad. The patent mainly focuses on how to achieve this feature while conserving electrical power. Yet the patent hints that the scope of the patent doesn't limit this PIP feature to just videoconferencing.
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The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 10 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second report of the day we cover a great number of Apple's granted patents including one for Final Cut Pro, a design patent for the App Store's icon imagery, another for an Apple Store related system and a few other minor patents along the way. Yet the surprise of the day certainly goes to a quality testing system designed for high-end LCD displays designed for such systems as a television or an iMac. Apple's display's have been a definite cut above their competitors for some time now and learning about this secret testing equipment easily explains one of the reasons for their ongoing success. Attention to quality detailing is Apple's Hallmark.
Continue reading "Apple Wins a Surprising iMac & TV Display Testing System Patent + Others for Final Cut Pro, the Apple Store & More" »
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.
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Earlier this month, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that revealed one of the possible next chapters for AppleTV. Although Apple continually insists that AppleTV is nothing more than a hobby of theirs, their R&D via patents is showing us another story. It appears that Apple is continually advancing future possibilities for AppleTV on a regular basis. In today's patent report we take a look at Apple's latest vision for AppleTV that will put more relevant data at your fingertips. Let's say that you like a tune that you're hearing on the latest episode of House or Fringe. You'll be able to put the scene on pause and have a new navigational bar appear that will give you the option of finding the data on that tune in one click. Apple's latest AppleTV patent lists eight new possible data options that could make watching TV more fun in the future.
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When Apple introduced the iPhone in January 2007, it turned the mobile phone industry on its head. It changed everything we knew about smartphones and threw out the manual. That's what secret out-of-the-blue technology could do when applied just right. With the iPhone's success, the Crazy Ones of Cupertino went into high gear. They were scribbling ideas on bar napkins as their teams feverishly pushed the idea of what Multi-Touch was and more importantly, could be. Today you'll learn about their new Three Dimensional Multi-Touch skin technology; an idea that could explode into a plethora of future product concepts.
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The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 16 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today and in our third report of the day, we focus on perhaps the most intriguing granted patent of the day. It's a patent that could already be DOA – or it could be a glimpse of various forms of Apple TV that Apple could be advancing ever so quietly behind the scenes. Most of us don't think that Apple is finished with Apple TV just yet – and today's patent just adds fuel to that fire.
Continue reading "Apple is granted a Sweet Cable TV Set-Top-Box Patent & More " »
Three new interesting Apple patent applications were published today at the US Patent & Trademark Office that cover differing research projects that Apple is exploring regarding radio services. Today, only the iPod nano offers smart radio services. The new patents clearly present us with fresh thinking on this subject and it's apparent that Radio Data Systems in the future will also be able to smart tag television channels too. Perhaps more interesting is that Apple is working on ways that will allow an iOS device user in the future to interact with a radio or TV station advertisement that is promoting a game or offering a prize to their listeners. Independent of these first two patents is a great third patent which covers the future ability of pushing the iOS interface to a modern in-vehicle stereo system's user interface. That's likely a feature that we'd all like to see sooner rather than later.
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On October 21, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's patent application titled "Systems and Methods for Operating a Disk Drive." Apple's patent generally relates to electronic devices and, more specifically, to systems and methods for storing electronic data to a file storage device – that in-part – utilizes flash memory for frequently updated information on a device such a DVR. Apple's entire patent is about the technical aspects of a combo "hard disk + solid state drive" and yet scantily references a DVR to provide us with a focal point so as to help us recognize an example of where such a drive would be commercially applied. Add this to Apple's "Hobby" project called Apple TV.
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Apple TV is just a hobby. Apple TV is just a hobby. Apple TV is just a hobby. Okay, I get it – but these nasty little patents keep popping up that show that Apple has an obsession with display technology which happens to include, well … television. Apple's patent thinks that LCD TVs should run in two modes so that still photos could be better presented. The patent describes the two modes as being CPU mode and Streaming Mode. The patent mentions display technologies like plasma which of course has nothing to do with an iOS display. Yet for now we'll simply archive this patent in our not-TV-file while chuckling, because we all know that Apple TV is just a hobby.
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A new Apple patent published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office today reveals that Apple will be adding easy to use subtitle and closed captioning features to their iPhone and other media players such as Apple TV. The system will also provide users with the ability to control the look of on-screen subtitles by choosing font styles, colors, sizes and even the style of box the text will be presented in. Apple's last feature takes advantage of ambient noise technology so that closed captioning could be triggered automatically when a mobile user is watching a movie or TV show in a noisy environment such a subway, bus, park or gym.
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On May 20, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple TV. While Apple TV is considered to be a hobby device for Apple, the fact is that they continue to evolve the device in their labs. This particular patent covers Apple TV's proposed function simply called "Learn Remote." Apple TV will be able to be controlled by future HDTVs from Sony, Samsung and Hitachi or even a DVR from DirecTV. Yet for the most part, these functions are already found and explained on Apple's website. The second aspect of this patent involves a possible winning marketing twist that could involve Apple TV being able to present a "Simulated iPhone" on a future HDTV so as to allow users to make a phone call or perhaps better yet, interact with one of a Gazillion iPhone Apps or even access one of their new iBooks. Apple tries to hide this feature by illustrating its presence on an illustration yet refusing to elaborate on this point. That's fine, I just did and I'm sure that your imagination could think of other interesting spin-off possibilities for this powerful marketing twist.
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The USPTO was down for most of last Thursday, which made it very difficult to access Apple's latest patent applications. One of the reports that we were able to post was in regards to Apple TV's remote controller. Yet hidden within the patents that we weren't able to access - was a little gold mine. After careful scrutiny of this patent over the weekend, let me tell you, Apple has some great ideas in mind for their Remote iApp. Better yet - Apple's patent presents us with a unique overview of a future version of Apple TV that we perhaps hoped for from the very beginning and disappointingly never received. All we can hope for now is that Apple delivers this next generation Apple TV for at least Christmas this year. C'mon Apple – make it happen!
Continue reading "Great Advances are Coming to Apple Remote & Apple TV" »
Tim Cook recently spoke at the Goldman Sachs' annual tech conference in San Francisco and supposedly stated that "Apple TV is a hobby. But "because our gut says there's something there we're continuing to invest in those," reported the Wall Street Journal's "Digit" blog. Seth Weintraub's 9 to 5 Mac went on record with Tim Cook stating that Apple had "No interest in going into the TV market. But still think there's something there." Yes, Apple continues to invest in the area of TV and our TV patent section is trying to document what we can on this very important future product. And while Apple continues to deny that they're working on a next generation television, you'd have to be an idiot reporter for even expecting Apple to say: Oh, yes, we're about to reinvent television and here are the juicy details. Ha! If you know Apple, then you know not to ask questions about "future products "and expect a reply. During every financial conference of Apple's, we continually hear analysts trying to get Tim Cook or Peter Oppenheimer to confess or have a slip of the tongue in the hopes of getting a killer headline. It's not going to happen. With that said, a very simple Apple patent was published today by the USPTO that insists that the company's Apple TV remote is to work with a clearly defined television – beyond what we know as Apple TV - the set top box style unit.
Continue reading "While Apple Denies Interest in Television, their Patents State Otherwise " »
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of seven newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The most notable patent covered in this report relates to possible next generation technology that Apple could employ in either in their Apple TV console or an HDTV unit itself - over time. Other patents granted to Apple today includes one that covers the iTune's "Season Pass" feature and another covering the iPhone's touch based slide unlocking-mechanism interface.
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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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In October 2009, Patently Apple pointed to Intel being On the Cusp of a Whole New Industry and presented you with an insider's view of what Intel had been promoting and marketing behind the scenes in respect to the next wave of 3D TV and other interesting subject matters. In Otellini's CES keynote, he shared his belief that "we're on the cusp of a new era in computing." More importantly, Otellini and his 3D lab team treated us to some very powerful conceptual imagery; Imagery that most definitely could translate into explosive new Apple products in the coming years. Beyond that, Otellini emphasized SmartTV, the power needed to power all forms of 3D content and introduced us all to the Home Energy Management Dashboard that will definitely become a part of our in-home strategy down the road.
Continue reading "Intel's CES Keynote 2010, Apple and iLife 3D" »
On the last patent day of 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published an important continuation patent from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple TV's remote. Firstly, the remote will implement a new magnetic compass within the remote's casing that will actually float in liquid so as to maintain its position relative to the gravity vector. This will provide the remote with incredible precision movement and fluidity. Secondly, with this new found precision, Apple hints of introducing a new illustration application to showcase this new remote's capabilities which would likely debut as iWork's fourth application. That in itself is great news. In theory, Apple's Keynote application would greatly benefit from such a new tool - in that it could provide the presenter with the ability to mark-up presentation graphics on screen live with this new 3D wand/remote.
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The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a newly granted patent of Apple's that would suggest that they may be considering a push button style antenna for future devices such as their iPhone, iPod Touch or perhaps even a new tablet. According to Apple such an antenna would "ensure high-quality wireless transmission and reception." Although the antenna could be based on a push button design, it may also be designed to be activated via an icon on your media device UI. There could also be an interesting twist to this patent, in that the antenna may utilize a coaxial cable. Coaxial cable is used as a transmission line for radio frequency signals, in applications such as connecting radio transmitters and receivers with their antennas, computer network (Internet) connections, and distributing cable television signals. It's the latter possibility that may be the secret to this patent and one that I think is worth emphasizing. Then again, if New York City is having trouble with the iPhone now with simple data, how would it ever handle wireless television transmissions? That aside, the ability to drive cable content to Apple's media players and/or future tablet is just too delicious an idea to ignore.
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On November 5, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals various concepts behind a newly advanced application in development code named Grab & Go. Apple's patent introduces us to simplified data transfer technologies such as Near Field Communication Interface and Sony's new TransferJet. The new application will allow users who live in the fast lane to transfer data quickly between devices like their desktop and iPod by simply tapping their iPod against an iMac, for example. The new application will also allow users to transfer data quickly from Apple TV to an iPod, from a gaming console to an iPod and so on and so forth. The patent also discusses sending complicated or simple files to MobileMe with yet another app dubbed Revisit. The new app will allow users to review their downloaded information using Cover Flow which is a very cool idea. This is the most in-depth patent of 2009 and the extent of detail would suggest that this is going to be a major new iPhone app hopefully for 2010. The extent of the detail also shows the passion that Apple has for this project. This hot new iApp from Apple has tremendous potential for the iPhone – and for giving their competition a headache!
Continue reading "Apple Developing 'Grab & Go' Application for Life in the Fast Lane" »
The US Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent application from Apple today that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's MobileMe. Generally speaking, Apple's patent relates to synchronizing media state across multiple devices. Specifically, the patent provides us with a scenario whereby you'll be able to partially view television or any video content on your iPhone, say during your lunch hour, and then switch to Apple TV when you get home and continue viewing that content from exactly where you left off at lunch without having to manually reposition playback of the content.
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First came the news of a future iPhone or perhaps even Apple's mysterious tablet design and now a second very cool patent has surfaced from the US Patent and Trademark Office that tells us that Apple may have presence detection coming to hardware in the not too distant future. The new technology will remotely detect a person's presence without requiring physical input by the user. The technology could be built right into the physical frame of various Mac hardware or set within iSight itself. Apple may employ SONAR as one of the methods of achieving this feat. Apple also makes a side note that that this technology could apply to a future a television – and even gives us a peek at a MacBook with a numeric pad. It sounds like a very cool feature – though beware, it might just freak your cat out.
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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.
Continue reading "Find out where Apple's latest iTunes Tagging Technology is Going" »
Continue reading "Apple TV to Take Sporting Events to a Whole New Level " »
Jerome R. Bellegarda is one of Apple's leading Spoken Language Group engineers. He's been involved in writing many of Apple's patents over the years relating to Speech Recognition and Text-to-Speech Synthesis. He's written a book on Latent Semantic Mapping and has spoken at the Human Language Technology Conference on comparative analysis of semantic inference, a presentation partly sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency. Suffice to say that Mr. Bellegarda is a leader in his field and adds incredible weight to today's patent application titled Context-aware unit selection. What's so exciting about another speech recognition related patent? Well, simply put, it's the first patent in a long stretch of such patents that finally provides us with a glance or glimmer of where Apple might be going with this technology in terms of a commercial application.
Continue reading "Apple Secretly Adding Voice Command Technology into Apple TV" »