By Ed Sutherland on May 16, 2013
The iPhone is quickly becoming (or already has) the hottest digital camera on the planet. Not only does it have terrific imaging power, but with its screen is able to easily compose attractive shots. Knowing the power of the iPhone and other iDevices, Apple continually tweaks its photo-imaging capabilities.
The latest evidence being a new patent application describing a way to combine the resources of multiple devices to provide what’s being called a ‘social camera flash.’ The idea isn’t new. So-called slave flashes that act on the command of a main camera have been in professional photo studios for years. However, Apple’s patent application envisions iPhones, iPads and iPods linked wirelessly to illuminate a scene… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on May 14, 2013
Into each iPhone, iPod or iPad a little moisture must fall – and when it does, Apple’s got you covered. Or, at least that’s what a pair of patent filings indicate. The two patent grants detail how to build consumer electronics in ways to prevent moisture entry and then alert users. Both were granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and appear to be part of the iPhone 5, which has scored well in moisture-handling tests… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on May 9, 2013
Much has been written about Apple’s new Lightning connector, introduced with the iPhone 5 to supercede the aging 30-pin Dock connection. Thursday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published three Apple patent filings from 2012 detailing how the Lightning connector is built. Among the questions addressed: how did Apple create an “orientation agnostic” connector design while also ensuring stability and proper alignment? Read More
By Ed Sutherland on May 7, 2013
Many of us have shared a pair of earbuds with a friend. The problem crops up when you enjoy rocking out at max volume while your friend enjoys a more modest audio level. Enter Apple with what’s essentially an intelligent audio splitter.
Instead of enduring the default sound level of the iPhone or iPod, an adapter envisioned by Apple would allow you to customize your individual audio, according to a patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Tuesday.
Additionally, the headphone splitter would permit two people to use built-in mics to speak over the soundtrack, opening up some wild possibilities with gaming… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on May 2, 2013
The days of boxy computers are history, so why are the batteries which power them still the same shape? That’s the question a pair of new Apple patent applications seek to answer. The patents filed in 2011 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describe “non-rectangular batteries for portable devices.”
The iPhone and iPad maker outlines a way to customize the shape of batteries to fit the flexibility of today’s consumer electronics, including the growing array of wearable devices, such as the highly-discussed iWatch or Google’s Glass eyewear… Read More
By Cody Lee on Apr 30, 2013
Earlier this year, Kodak completed the sale of more than 1,000 digital imaging patents in an effort to help restructure the company after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It wanted $2 billion for the portfolio, but only garnered $500 million from a group of companies.
That consortium consisted of several tech giants, including Google and Apple. And according to a new report, their names are starting to turn up on transfer filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, meaning Kodak’s patents are changing hands… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Apr 30, 2013
While in the middle of being told Apple is washed-up, a has-been being overtaken by Android, comes a patent which reminds us the company actually has some good ideas left.
Take, for instance, those annoying calls which seem to arrive in the middle of dinner. The gear heads at Apple also find them annoying and created a way to put you in control of who calls you when and whether a text might suffice. Particularly when you have a mouth of spaghetti.
The granted patent describes a “system for facilitating contacting people using electronic devices.”
Instead of taking the usual path most technology firms selling smartphones would follow – creating multiple ways to blast messages to you – Apple goes for a more zen-like approach, realizing that understanding when not to make a call could make for the ultimate smartphone… Read More
By Cody Lee on Apr 30, 2013
It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve heard any news on the Apple/Samsung lawsuit front, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But today, the silence was broken as Judge Lucy Koh issued a new case management order to the two sides.
According to the order, the two will be battling it out over damages from their August trial this fall, with the next hearing scheduled for November 12. Here, Apple will get a chance to get back some of the $500M Koh cut from its settlement earlier this year… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 26, 2013
On April 5, Apple acknowledged via a support document that it “will be changing the behavior of VPN On Demand for iOS devices using iOS 6.1 and later” due to a lawsuit by patent holding firm VirnetX file against Apple in November 2011. VPN technology, which stands for Virtual Private Networking, extends corporate networks securely across public networks like the Internet, allowing users to access a private network as if they were directly connected to it.
Apple originally planned to remove the ‘Always’ configuration option for VPN On Demand with the ‘Establish if needed’ option. The revised document specifically mentions Apple will not be changing the VPN behavior on “devices that have already been shipped”… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Apr 25, 2013
When your smartphone and automobile come up in conversation, too often the discussions center around texting while driving, or distracted driving. However, two patents submitted by Apple suggest the iPhone could become your car’s best friend – at least that’s the hope of the consumer tech giant.
The two patents filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office outline ways to replace your car’s key fob with the iPhone and a Bluetooth connection to remember your location in a crowded parking garage, as well as creating an intelligent car starter/theft prevention tool… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Apr 24, 2013
We don’t usually go in for conspiracy theories, but one is drawing quiet a bit of attention – and factual basis. Has corporate giant Samsung, stung by its more than $1 billion patent lawsuit loss to Apple in 2012, waging war on the iPhone maker? A number of signs point to the affirmative, including an apparent tactic to swamp any critics with pro-Samsung comments.
Along with blatant examples of the business press spinning news against Apple and for Samsung, there has been reports of fake Samsung product reviews. Additionally, we’ve seen up-close attempts by pro-Samsung ‘trolls’ to dominate comments… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 23, 2013
Apple’s patent troubles with the struggling handset maker has largely been viewed as a proxy fight with Google, which acquired Motorola Mobility along with its vast patent portfolio in August 2011 for $12.5 billion. Two and a half years ago Motorola asserted its proximity sensor patent against Apple. Monday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) threw Motorola’s complaint out of the window, invalidating Motorola’s patent because it’s too obvious. That’s good news for Apple as Google was hoping to leverage that patent to seek an import ban against iPhones… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Apr 17, 2013
If you have some media content on your iPhone that needs to get to a Mac, the transfer can be cumbersome. Apple appears to be tapping wireless technologies to smooth out such operations, simply by having your mobile device near your desktop or portable Mac computer.
A patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office outlines a way for Macs to sense when a mobile device is nearby. Your iPhone can then transmit that great vacation photo to the Mac, which then inserts the image into an email, or even photo manipulation application… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Apr 17, 2013
Apple Tuesday was granted a patent for how it manages folders on the company’s iOS devices, including the familiar “jiggle” user interface. The patent, awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, describes a “device, method, and graphical user interface for managing folders.” In the 2010 application, Apple said the interface relieves the “significant cognitive burden” and wasted energy traditionally required for moving files and icons on a computer desktop… Read More
By Cody Lee on Apr 10, 2013
This is kind of interesting. Access, a Japan-based software company, published a release on its website this morning noting that it had entered a licensing agreement with Apple for a number of its patents. The firm’s portfolio is quite large, featuring IP from Bell, Palm and others.
The particular patents that Apple is said to have acquired the rights to came from PalmSource, the company behind Palm’s original mobile operating system. In 2003, it spun off of Palm as an independent company, and in 2005, Access acquired it and its intelectual property… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Apr 9, 2013
Could Apple be preparing a prepaid version of iTunes of sorts, one that could allow users to purchase music and other digital media from the Apple cloud without an Internet connection? Tuesday, the iPhone maker was granted a patent for a system permitting iTunes purchases using offline credits, according to the 2010 filing. At the heart of the system is the ability to buy credits while online. The credits would also get stored locally on your device, not just in your online iTunes account.
Those ‘offline’ credits can then purchase and enable various media that would first have to be cached automatically on your device, based on top sellers, recommendations, past purchases and other criteria.
In turn, people could make iTunes transactions whenever they happen to be, even when being online is impractical. Reportedly, the proposed technology could also increase iTunes sales by offering restricted usage of the material… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Apr 8, 2013
Apple thus far has filed for a number of patents related to mobile payments, all seemingly pointing to a unified mobile payments solution dubbed iWallet. The most recent filing details a new transaction patent which goes to great lengths highlighting methods for conducting and managing financial transactions on smartphones such as the iPhone, giving hope that Apple engineers could in fact be secretly developing an on-the-go financial transactions service aimed at owners of iOS devices.
Titled “A method for conducting a financial transaction,” it focuses on Apple’s previous iWallet patent claims, with one publication suggesting that Apple could now be one step closer to launching a mobile payments solution on iOS devices, uite possibly based on NFC technology, which stands for Near-Field Communications… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Apr 8, 2013
Is South Korea’s Samsung preparing to settle ongoing mobile patent disputes with Apple, perhaps curtailing the firm’s dependance on smart phones for future profits?
That’s the conjecture as Samsung’s chairman prepares to meet reporters later this week, following comments on returning from a three-month trip to Japan and Hawaii.
According to one South Korean newspaper, “several pending issues” will be on the plate of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee… Read More
By Cody Lee on Apr 7, 2013
In a decision issued on March 26, but kept classified until earlier this week, an International Trade Commission judge found Samsung to be infringing on Apple’s US RE41,922 patent that covers things like text selection and translucent buttons.
It’s only a preliminary decision, and the judge only found Samsung guilty of infringement on one of two patents listed in the complaint. But if the decision gets upheld, Samsung could once again be looking at a major product ban in the US… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Apr 5, 2013
Is Apple preparing to take another chunk out of Google’s mapping franchise? A patent filed in 2011 and entitled “3D Position Tracking for Panoramic Navigation,” discovered Thursday, suggests the iPhone maker is considering adding street level navigation to its own iOS 6 Maps technology.
By virtue of the description, the invention suggests using movement sensors built into the iPhone and iPad to make it easier for mobile users to move within virtual maps. Currently, Google’s Street View feature makes use of mouse movements and touchscreen input for navigation. A key difference between Apple Maps and Google Maps may also include the ability to navigate within structures… Read More