New Apple patent would use heart rate data to identify Apple Watch owner

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 13, 2016

Currently, you can protect your Apple Watch with a passcode or set it to automatically unlock itself whenever you unlock your iPhone. But if a newly published patent application from the Cupertino firm is anything to go by, the wearable device may soon be able to seamlessly identify the owner with its built-in heart rate sensor.

As published by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), the invention titled “User identification system based on plethysmography” proposes using a pulse oximeter to intelligently identify biometric characteristics of a user’s vasculature. Read More


New Apple patent would embed light sensors into the display, hints at iPhone 8 technology

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 11, 2016

The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) today awarded Apple a patent describing a process for embedding light-sensing sensors into a mobile display. The invention, titled “Electronic devices with display-integrated light sensors,” potentially paves the way for next year’s iPhone.

Apple’s new patent specifically mentions the ambient light and proximity sensors, which are found on the front face of the device, as being integrated into the display assembly.

According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and pundits in the know, like Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, the iPhone 8—or whatever a 2017 iPhone (or Tenth Anniversary iPhone) ends up being called—should be a major design departure from prior models as it would supposedly get rid of the chin and forehead bezels by integrating Touch ID and the front-camera along with other sensors directly into the display.
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Appeals Court reinstates Samsung owes Apple $119.6 million in slide-to-unlock lawsuit verdict

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 7, 2016

A three-judge panel was actually wrong to toss out of the window the $119.6 million verdict in a longstanding lawsuit that involves Apple’s patented slide-to-unlock gesture that the iPhone maker had sued Samsung over a few years back.

As Bloomberg reports, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has now ordered the trial judge to consider whether the judgment should be increased “based on any intentional infringement by Samsung.” Read More


Apple granted patent for a Touch ID sensor that could work through an iPhone display

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 4, 2016

If you’ve been waiting for the next iconic design since the release of the black-clad iPhone 5, this year’s iPhone 7 probably feels like a slight disappointment. Apple is widely thought to have saved its best innovation and industrial redesign for the Tenth Anniversary iPhone next year which could embed the fingerprint sensor, FaceTime camera and sensors behind the display.

As revealed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple has now been granted a patent for a fingerprint-sensing technology that could work through the display itself, paving the way for an iPhone with the full-screen face design. Read More


Apple ordered to pay VirnetX $302.4 million in patent retrial

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 1, 2016

A jury has ordered Apple to pay $302.4 million to VirnetX Holding Corp over using its patented virtual private networking protocols in FaceTime and iMessage on the iPhone, iPad and Mac. The case will now go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington DC before VirnetX sees any payout, Reuters and Bloomberg reported today. Read More


Apple researching a system that would capture biometric data of thieves via iPhone sensors

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 25, 2016

An Apple patent application published Thursday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) describes methods of capturing and storing biometric information of thieves via the iPhone’s sensors, including fingerprints, photos, videos and a wealth of other forensic data.

Titled “Biometric capture for unauthorized user identification,” the proposed and somewhat controversial security system would leverage machine learning to proactively capture an unauthorized user’s fingerprint and a picture after unsuccessful Touch ID/passcode attempts or if user-defined criteria have been met. Read More


Judge voids $625 million verdict against Apple in VirnetX patent spat

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 1, 2016

In February 2016, a federal jury ordered that Apple pay $625 million to VirnetX Holding Corp after being found guilty of willfully infringing on technologies found in VirnetX’s patents related to virtual private networking protocols. Friday, the judge voided that ruling after determining that the case should be revisited, CNBC reports. VirnetX alleges that its patented technology is used in FaceTime and iMessage on the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Read More


New Apple invention would employ multi-axis haptic feedback based on device orientation

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 19, 2016

A new patent filing by Apple, which surfaced Tuesday in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) database, provides yet another indication that Apple’s engineers continue work on perfecting haptic feedback in its products. According to the filing, the company has invented a multi-axis haptic feedback solution capable of producing vibrations in different directions, based on whether a user holds the device in portrait or landscape orientation. Read More


Foldable Samsung tablet/smartphone hybrid aka “smartlet” appears in patent filing

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 4, 2016

Last month, Bloomberg ran a high-profile story about Samsung’s alleged initiative, code-named Project Valley, that would bring a pair of fully bendable Galaxy phones to market in early-2017.

Subsequent supply chain reports have since backed the story partially as it became public knowledge that Samsung has allocated north of $7 billion into boosting production of flexible OLED panels.

As Patently Apple noted today, a new patent application sheds more light on the South Korean conglomerate’s interest in creating a technology that would allow a smartphone or tablet to fold in half when not in use. Read More


New invention paves the way for iPhones that’d optimize UI for left-handed users

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 28, 2016

The Apple Watch is designed for both left and right-handed use via a switch that prompts it to optimize the watchOS user interface for left-handed users. A similar feature could be headed to future iPhones as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) a few days ago awarded the firm a patent for “Electronic Devices with Hand Detection Circuitry” that might let a future iPhone detect how it’s being held and tweak the Home screen and other aspects of the iOS user interface for left-handed users. Read More


Beijing court orders iPhone 6 sales ban over patent infringement, Apple to appeal ruling

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 17, 2016

Apple just hit yet another roadblock in China with news that the Beijing Intellectual Property Office (BJIPO) has ordered the company to halt sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on the grounds that the Apple handset copied the design of the 100C smartphone, which is being produced by Shenzhen Baili, one of China’s phone vendors.

Apple has confirmed that it will challenge the sales ban by appealing to the Beijing Higher People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Court. Read More


Magic Leap has been awarded design patent for a Star Wars-like VR headset

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 8, 2016

Augmented reality startup Magic Leap, which created the Leap Motion Controller for the Mac, has been awarded a design patent today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a virtual reality headset which looks like a Star Wars helmet or something straight out of the Robocop movies. According to Andy Fouché, Magic Leap’s Vice President of Public Relations, the patent does not represent the finished product. Read More


Apple’s just been granted a patent for a MacBook with embedded cellular connectivity

By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2016

The United States Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) today granted Apple a brand new patent which seems to address a longstanding complaint among MacBook owners: the machine’s lack of an embedded cellular connectivity.

Titled “Electronic device with dual clutch barrel cavity antennas” and originally filed for in the second quarter of 2015, the invention describes using additional wireless circuitry for cellular data via cavity antenna structures that are not present on current MacBooks. Read More


Apple granted a patent that’d allow advanced car control via your iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on May 24, 2016

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday granted Apple a patent that could be a perfect fit for Project Titan, its not-so-secretive electric car project.

The proposed invention outlines an advanced vehicle access control system that would permit an iPhone to do things like open your car doors, start or shut off the engine for specific time frames and for specific duration of time, adjust and activate personalized car settings and more.

“The feature set described in this invention went far beyond anything that could have been conceived working with CarPlay,” explains Patently Apple, which first caught wind of the granted patent. Read More


VoIP-Pal slaps Apple with $2.8 billion lawsuit over patent used in FaceTime and iMessage

By Christian Zibreg on May 10, 2016

Voice over IP (VoIP), a technology for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over the Internet, is at the heart of an unbelievable $2.8 billion patent infringement lawsuit that VoIP-Pal, a Bellevue-based company, filed this morning against the iPhone maker.

“We are confident the current good will on both sides will result in a favorable outcome for all parties involved,” said VoIP-Pal CEO Emil Malak in a prepared statement. Read More


Apple’s vision of a streamlined clarification process for when Auto-Correction makes mistakes

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 29, 2016

There probably isn’t a single iPhone user on this planet that hasn’t experienced the “joys” of the Auto-Correction feature interfering with their messaging. Auto-Correction mistakes often produce hilarious miscommunications (there’s a website for that).

Whether or not you’re a heavy typist, you’ll appreciate that Apple’s been researching ways to improve Auto-Correction, according to a patent application that surfaced yesterday in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) database.

Cryptically titled “Device, method and graphical user interface for visible and interactive corrected content,” it envisions highlighting auto-corrected words in an iMessage for the recipient and a built-in Messages feature for streamlining the process of clarifying what the sender meant. Read More


Apple patents hybrid wireless/wired earbuds for iPhone that are magnetically detachable

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 1, 2016

The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday awarded Apple a patent for magnetically detachable earbuds for an iPhone that could work in both wired and wireless mode. The invention is of particular interest in light of the rumor that the next iPhone will ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of Lightning-enabled and wireless Bluetooth headphones.

The proposed device would use two cables, one to connect the headphones together in wireless mode (like the connecting cable found on the Beats Solo2 wireless headphones) and the other to connect the headphones to a host device in wired mode. Read More


Apple’s $120 million patent victory against Samsung overturned

By Cody Lee on Feb 26, 2016

An appeals court on Friday ruled that Samsung won’t have to pay Apple $119.6 million for infringing its patents, reports Bloomberg. The court found two of Apple’s patents, including one for its slide-to-unlock feature, to be invalid and a third wasn’t infringed.

Today’s ruling overturns a verdict reached by a California jury in May 2014, which found Samsung devices to infringe on Apple’s patents. It also upholds a decision to make Apple pay Samsung $158,400 in damages for infringing on its video compression patent. Read More


Apple patent would use Apple Watch to intelligently adjust iPhone alert volume on the fly

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 11, 2016

Apple has been researching software solutions that would tap into a user’s Apple Watch to intelligently adjust an iPhone’s alert volume on the fly, by monitoring and comparing ambient sound samples.

Filed for with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) back in 2014 and published on Thursday, the patent application titled “Volume control for mobile device using a wireless device” outlines volume control adjustments by having a Watch’s built-in microphone sample an alert generated on an iPhone to “detect a distinct contribution corresponding to the audible alert.” Read More


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

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