Apple researching pressure-sensing Touch ID with 3D Touch type functionality

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 4, 2016

Apple has filed for a new patent application, which surfaced this morning in the United States Patent & Trademark Office’s (USPTO) database.

It reveals that the Cupertino firm is seeking to add pressure sensing capability to the iPhone’s Touch ID button while hinting at the possibility of enabling 3D Touch-like functionality by way of applying various degrees of pressure to the Home button.

Titled “Force-sensitive fingerprint sensing input,” the invention describes adding a resistive element having a mechanically resistive force to the Touch ID button—such as an elastomeric material, spring or similar component—which would then be able to measure the depression. Read More

 

Apple ordered to pay $625 million in VirnetX patent suit

By Cody Lee on Feb 3, 2016

Apple has been ordered by a federal jury in east Texas to pay $625 million for patent infringement, Reuters reported late Wednesday. The jury found the iPhone maker guilty of using VirnetX’s security technology without its permission.

More specifically, Apple was found guilty of willfully infringing on technology found in VirnetX Holding Corp’s patents related to virtual private networking protocols, which Apple uses in its FaceTime and iMessage apps on iPhone and iPad. Read More

 

Apple granted a patent which could help get rid of iPhone’s embarrassing camera bulge

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 26, 2016

Apple has just been granted a very cool patent that promises to solve the protruding camera lens on the back of the iPhone 6/6s series. The invention basically calls for packing a spherical photosensor and lens array in a tiny package.

The patent No. 9,244,253 for a “Small form factor high-resolution camera,” which was published Tuesday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), reduces the distance between the CMOS sensor and the lens by making the sensor curved, a technique used in astronomical telescopes and instrumentation. Read More

 

VirnetX seeking to extract $532 million from Apple in patent infringement retrial

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 26, 2016

Patent holding firm VirnetX yesterday told a federal jury that Apple should be slapped with a $532 million fine over an alleged patent infringement pertaining to FaceTime, iMessage and VPN technologies used in its products, which is nearly 45 percent higher than an initial damages award vacated last year.

According to Bloomberg, the notorious patent troll “keeps moving the boundary, asking for more and more and more,” said Apple’s lawyer. Read More

 

Apple fine tunes patent that outlines a possible future iPhone with a wraparound display

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 21, 2016

Samsung has popularized and mainstreamed so-called phablets, then Apple followed suit by making its iPhones bigger. And with last year’s release of the Galaxy S6 with a curved screen, legitimate questions arose as to whether Apple should engineer an iPhone with a wraparound display.

Before you jump straight to the comments, consider Apple’s patent applications for an “Electronic device with wrapped display,” which surfaced Thursday in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database. Read More

 

Apple working on magnetic Watch band that doubles as stand, protective case

By Cody Lee on Jan 14, 2016

Apple is working on a new magnetic band for its Apple Watch that could transform into a stand, or protective case. The project, first spotted by AppleInsider, was brought to light in a patent application published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday.

Aptly-named the “Magnetic Wristband,” the invention calls for a Milanese-style band consisting of two straps made from malleable material. These straps feature a series of magnets embedded in various polarity patterns that allow them to interact in unusual, but useful ways. Read More

 

Patents hint that broadcast TV and presence detection features may be coming to Apple TV

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 28, 2015

Apple is researching a pair of interesting new features to give its fourth-generation Apple TV some new smarts and make the box more TV-like. Titled “User detection by a computing device” and “Input device & user interface interactions”, these inventions outline a fresh new user interface for changing channels on an iOS device and a presence-aware remote to keep playing content as long as someone is in the room. Read More

 

Apple wants additional $180 million in supplemental damages from Samsung

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 28, 2015

Apple wants a Christmas present from Samsung in the form of an additional $180 million in supplemental damages (damages for infringements after the cutoff date of the jury trial), FOSS Patents reported this past weekend.

The iPhone maker on Christmas Eve filed a motion seeking the additional $180 million on top of the initial $548 million settlement that Samsung has agreed to pay to Apple (though a reimbursement may be demanded later). Read More

 

Ericsson and Apple sign seven-year cross-licensing patent agreement

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 21, 2015

Ericsson, a Swedish multinational provider of communication technology, equipment and services, today announced it has signed a seven-year cross-licensing agreement with Apple, putting an end to a multi-year patent spat that has plagued their relationship.

The global agreement includes a cross-license that covers patents relating to both companies’ standard-essential patents, including the GSM, UMTS and LTE cellular standards. It also resolves all pending patent-infringement litigation between the companies before the United States International Trade Commission, United States District Courts and European courts. Read More

 

Samsung to pay Apple $548 million settlement, but reserves right to seek reimbursement

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 4, 2015

The long-standing Apple vs. Samsung patent dispute has been dragging on for five years now without any meaningful resolution in sight, despite Samsung announcing a settlement payment of $548 million to the iPhone maker today.

According to patent blog FOSS Patents, even though the Galaxy maker will send the payment to Apple by December 14 it’s found a loophole that would give it the right to seek reimbursement of all amounts required to be paid as taxes, and then some more. Read More

 

Apple patents technology that would allow iPhones to detect touches while wearing gloves

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 26, 2015

Did you know that your iPhone’s multi-touch display cannot detect touches while you’re wearing gloves? That’s because the iPhone uses capacitive touchscreen technology that takes human body capacitance as input and gloves block your fingers from touching the screen directly.

A new patent application Apple filed for with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in the summer of 2014 was published this morning.

Titled “Glove Touch Detection”, it seeks to fix this problem via dynamically adjusted threshold values, which would permit the touchscreen to register touch events while the user is wearing regular gloves. Read More

 

Apple exploring panic mode for Touch ID

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 5, 2015

Apple has submitted a new patent application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) Thursday that would make the iPhone more secure by allowing users to place their device in a lock-down mode simply by putting a certain finger on the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Titled “fingerprint activation of a panic mode of operation for a mobile device,” it describes unlocking a Touch ID device with a specific finger to activate a special lock-down mode that would make personal data stored on the device inaccessible to the user, or activate different modes of operation based on the particular fingerprints. Read More

 

Apple researching completely switch-less Mac keyboard with Force Touch feedback

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 3, 2015

Apple’s new Magic Keyboard is awesome—if you don’t believe me, check out my colleague Jeff Benjamin’s excellent video review—but it lacks Force Touch feedback currently found on the Apple Watch and iPhone 6s display and MacBook trackpads.

But Apple seems to be interested in bringing this technology to a future Mac keyboard, according to a patent granted to the company on Tuesday by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Read More

 

iPhone chips infringe University of Wisconsin’s tech, Apple faces $862M in damages

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 14, 2015

The Apple-designed, TSMC/Samsung-manufactured A7, A8 and A8X mobile chips that power the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices released since 2013 have been found to infringe technology patents owned by the University of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

As a result, Apple is now facing a damages payout of $862.4 million, Reuters reported yesterday. The aforesaid chips power the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini with Retina display, iPad mini 3 and iPad mini 4. Read More

 

New patent points to lusciously animated Apple Maps with photorealistic visual effects

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

Three-dimensional Flyover aerial photography in Apple Maps is cool, but wouldn’t it be great if things like water, foliage and other dynamic objects were animated based on touch, motion and sound?

That’s exactly what Apple appears to be researching if a new patent application uncovered by AppleInsider is indicative of future Apple Maps features. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday awarded the iPhone maker a new patent on “Non-static 3D map views.” Read More

 

Apple working on fuel cell tech that could give devices weeklong battery life

By Cody Lee on Sep 3, 2015

Apple continues to show interest in using hydrogen fuel cell technology, as evidenced in its latest patent filing. On Thursday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published a patent titled “Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device.”

The invention appears to be, at least initially, targeted at the MacBook, as the filing mentions MagSafe several times. But last month, the British firm Intelligent Energy proved the tech can be shrunken down, by showing off an iPhone with a hydrogen fuel cell. Read More

 

Germany’s highest appeals court invalidates Apple’s slide-to-unlock patents

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 25, 2015

Germany’s highest appeals court has ruled that Apple’s famous slide-to-unlock patents are invalid, VentureBeat reported Tuesday.

The ruling basically reaffirmed a 2013 decision in which the lower Federal Patent Court rejected Apple’s claims on the grounds of ‘prior art’. The German courts discovered that Apple’s slide-to-patent involves a similar technique as that featured on a smartphone released before the iPhone by a Swedish company called Neonode. Read More

 

Samsung to appeal to Supreme Court in Apple patent case

By Cody Lee on Aug 19, 2015

As expected, Samsung is taking its patent battle with Apple to the United States Supreme Court. The San Jose Mercury News points to a new court filing from the company, which voices its intent to ask the Supreme Court to hear its case.

In 2012, Samsung was found guilty of infringing on multiple Apple patents and was ordered to pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages. That amount has since been cut in half, but Samsung is hoping to get the sum further reduced. Read More

 

Court denies Samsung’s latest appeal request in ongoing patent case

By Cody Lee on Aug 13, 2015

The US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied Samsung’s request to reconsider the court’s decision to uphold damages awarded in its patent infringement case, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The damages amount to more than $400 million.

This is just the latest turn in what seems to be a never-ending patent case between Samsung and Apple. In 2012, a jury found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple’s patents and awarded the iPhone maker $1 billion in damages, which has since been cut in half. Read More

 

Apple’s smudge-detection patent prevents an iPhone screen from accidentally turning off

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 4, 2015

When you bring up an iPhone to your ear to take or receive a phone call, the handset taps the built-in proximity sensor near the ear piece to detect that you’re holding your phone up and then turns off the display to prevent spray input from your face.

But sometimes a smudge from your finger can block the path of light back to the phone’s sensors, prompting the device to shut down the display because it thinks you’re holding the device near your head.

A new invention Apple was granted a patent for was published Tuesday by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), describing a smudge-detection method designed to prevent an iPhone screen from accidentally turning off due to smudges. Read More

 
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