The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday issued Apple a patent, allowing to change volume in iPhones and switch between the device’s multiple speakers, detecting how near or far you are to it.
Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,452,020 for “Adjustment of acoustic properties based on proximity detection,” a patent application, which describes how the iPhone’s promixity sensor could be used to automatically increase or decrease the volume or even switch between the receiver and the speaker.
According to the patent, while holding the iPhone to the ear the volume would be lower through the receiver. But as you would put it away from your ear the volume would raise.
Laying the device down and moving away would switch the audio output to the speaker.
That means, that the proximity sensor will note the change and switch to “speaker mode.”
A patent application announced by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office confirms Apple is actively looking for methods to ensure a video’s multi-channel audio is always played correctly, without reference how a user holds the device.
The patent titled “Orientation-based audio” offers a system that allows a device’s internal sensors to synchronize audio output from several speakers. Firstly, the system determines the position of speakers and then routs stereo audio to them. As the patent stated, there’s another variant, where the key feature is various sensor information, used to rout the audio to the correct speakers.
The system can be used only if devices have more than two speakers.
“Typically, although not necessarily, the audio processing router attempts to ensure that left and right channel audio outputs (whether front or back) are sent to speakers on the left and right sides of the device, respectively, given the device’s current orientation. Thus, front and rear left channel audio may be mixed and sent to the left speaker(s) while the front and rear right channel audio may be mixed and sent to the right speaker(s).”
When a movement is sensed, the device gets a new map, made by the processor, which routs audio accordingly. Switching by some certain angles can be limited with settings. System can use a gain to compensate the volume, if a device is moved away. Moreover, time delays can also be used to syncing audio from one set of speakers with a second if they happen not to be in line with a user’s head.
Apple’s orientation-based audio patent application was first filed for in 2011 and invented by Johnson, Ruchi Goel and Darby E. Hadley.
A new Apple patent describes a system which allows an iOS device remotely controls multiple secondary devices. The patent called as an “Illumination system” allows Apple’s mobile products to function as remotely-controlled lights for a primary camera. It should be noted that such a primary unit can be either a dedicated camera or a handset with image capture capabilities, while the secondary device can be any other device. The principle it works is the following: the primary unit sets up a connection with the one or more secondary devices. After taking a test image to determine the illumination requirements of a scene, it provides the secondary devices with a signal.
“As one example, a display associated with (or incorporated into) a secondary device may display text instructing a person holding that device to move in a particular direction, for a particular distance, to angle or move the device in a certain manner, and so forth,»-the patent stated.
That means that the primary unit can send instructions remorely to the person holding the secondary device. By the way, with a graphical interface a user can preview a test shot and offer control over the secondary devices acting as slave flashes. It’s also possible for the primary device to display scene options which automatically change slave units’ flash fire intensity or send instructions for repositioning.
It was not the one person who’s responsible for the idea connecting multiple iOS devices, so the patent can be supposed to be “social camera flash” system. It also should be mentioned that Apple’s remote flash patent application was first filed in November 2011.
Apple has been granted a new patent titled-”Disappearing button or slider” by USPTO. According to the patent, Apple can produce devices with invisible buttons and slider controls. That means, that iPhone can be provided with buttons and controls which are responsible for their invisibility.
As the Patent states: “an input device includes a deflection based capacitive sensing input. Deflection of a metal fame of the input device causes a change in capacitance that is used to control a function of an electrical device.”
A button is supposed to be made of the same material as the housing of the phone, so it would be coherent whole. Its location could be pointed thanks to the backlit through small holes. The user could also activate it by tapping the button. Basically, it would respond to any motion of a finger and even sound.
According to the Patent report: “Apple’s visible controls may be a contextual control, meaning that the function of control is dependent upon an operating state of the device such as when iTunes is active so as to control iTunes functions. In other implementations, invisible contextual controls (not shown) can be used to deactivate a camera, eject a disk or USB stick, or to illuminate the keyboard depending on the state of the MacBook. Even the entire keyboard of the MacBook can be replaced with an array of invisible buttons. In fact, all of the conventional keys, buttons, track pads, etc. on a MacBook or other electronic device can be replaced by invisible inputs according to the present invention.»
Hopefully the patent isn’t just to be, this will open new horizons and provide Apple’s devices with new features.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office denied the Apple’s acquisition for a trademark on the «iPad mini», asserting that «mini» is a characteristic of goods or services sold in a miniature form.
In an official letter sent to Apple in January of this year, but published only recently, the USPTO rejected the application for a patent, as “the mark merely describes a feature or characteristic of goods.” Apple may appeal the decision, but to return it to its advantage, the company will provide a reasonable explanation of its opposition.
Experts claim that «iPad» is descriptive, the term «i» is particularly used to refer to Internet services, while the «mini» describes any product in a smaller version than the same device. “Marks, combining descriptive terms, which retain their meanings in relation to goods or services, can not be registered”.
These terms are used to describe portable devices, manufactured by many companies, so they can not be patented in respect of a particular device. In support of this, the reviewers pointed a few companies, which used the term “mini”, and according to the analysis, it did serve the description for the size of tablets.
Remind, that the company introduced a new iPad Mini, equipped with a screen diagonal of 7.9 inches, in October last year, and in November filed a trademark application. In any case, Apple can dispute the decision until July and assure that iPad mini is a unique device and is worth to be patented.
According to the present invention there is provided a portable device, which is able to recognize handwriting, process speech-to-text and vice versa, as well as serve as a mobile phone. One of the most important features is the possibility of cellular or wireless data transmission through an onboard radio.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday reissued Apple a patent for a mobile computers (Portable Computers).The idea is to create a digital pen-computer with enhanced functionality. As planned, the gadget will get a display, microphone, speaker, accelerometer, and battery, including GPS satellite navigation system and a module for connecting to mobile networks.
The pen-computer can recognize handwriting and modify speech into text and vice versa. Users will be able to view an e-mail correspondence and other information.
In fact, the device can replace usual mobile phones, electronic notebooks and GPS-navigators. It is also possible, that this gadget will become a partner for a tablet computer or a smartphone.
Apple’s win in the patent case against Samsung raised a wave of controversies and of debates concerning the jury’s decisions. Apple jury foreman Velvin Hogan comes to puzzle out the 1$ billion verdict and to make people’s minds easy about Samsung’s fail by unveiling in a Bloomberg interview the factors of the decision.
During the 17-minutes video Hogan elaborates the jury dynamics, his experience with patents, the magnitude of Google’s intervention, how they reached to the 1$ billion sum and many others.
“We were at a stalemate, but some of the jurors were not sure of the patent prosecution process. Some were not sure of how prior art could either render a patent acceptable or whether it could invalidate it. What we did is we started talking about one and when the day was over and I was at home, thinking about that patent claim by claim, limit by limit, I had what we would call an a-ha moment and I suddenly decided I could defend this if it was my patent…And with that, I took that story back to the jury and laid it out for them. They understood the points I was talking about and then we meticulously went patent by patent and claim by claim against the test that the judge had given us, because each patent had a different legal premise to judge on. We got those all sorted out and decided which ones were valid and which ones were not.”
Each day seems to be just a new day for the patents battle between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics. Even the Federal Judge Lucy Koh got a little irked by the lingering lawsuit between the two tech giants.
Judge Koh lost her temper a bit when Apple’s lawyer presented a document covering 22 potential witnesses that the company might want to call after Samsung’s case introduction. According to The Verge, she asked Apple lawyer when the jury was not in the courtroom, why a 57-page witnesses list was presented “when unless you’re smoking crack you know these witnesses aren’t going to be called!”
Apple attorney William Lee retorted “First, your honor, I’m not smoking crack. I can promise you that.” Even though Apple’s lawyers decided to reduce the witnesses, Judge Koh continued to grow more frustrated as the discussion advanced.
Lucy Koh is a Judge with lot of sense of humor, but it is more than obvious that the length of the trial and the fact that the two parties are not willing to reach to a conclusion soon, is putting her patience to a test. The arrogance of the situation provoked also Judge Paul Grewal to affirm the following:
”At some point the accommodation must end, lest the hundreds of other parties in civil rights, Social Security, and other cases also presently before the undersigned and presiding judge might reasonably ask: what makes the parties in this patent case so special?“
After all, the case between Apple and Samsung is just a fight of smartphones and interfaces patents.
A patent filled by Apple about a year ago unveils a new, cutting edge iPad Smart Cover. Apple’s new Smart cover will use a multi-touch based flexible AMOLED Display and solar energy collectors, and may integrate a flexible keyboard. The communication between the cover and the iPad will be fulfilled either by a Wi-Fi connection or by a wired data connection and a customized connector will be able to send data and power both to the iPad and the Cover.
The aim of the next Smart Cover is to have a more interactive role with the iPad and to be more functional. For example, one can use the iPad as a screen and the cover as a keyboard that can have integrated also a drawing digitizer. The digital parts of the cover can include also touch sensitive areas. Opening documents, handling multiple apps, or adding extra icons will be much easier.
Patently Apple describes the patent as follows: “This future Smart Cover will include the following: a flexible flap having a size and shape in accordance with the size of the iPad’s display where at least a portion of the flexible flap is covered by a flap display configured to present visual information; and a connecting portion, the connecting portion arranged to provide at least a communication channel arranged to convey information between the iPad and this future Smart Cover where at least some of the information is presented visually on the flap display.”
The new patent received by Apple concerns the way in which electronic lists and documents are displayed on an iPhone’s new graphical user interface. I reckon that this patent is one of the surprises that Apple has prepared for us and that it will bring with iPhone 5 and with iOS 6 a revamped GUI.
The patent covers the use of a multi-touch interface and of various modules and programs, such as email, camera, video player, calendar, widgets, search, notes, maps and others and a virtual keyboard respectively. This patent is closely related to another recently granted patent, namely that concerning music playlists and multiple windowing.
The iOS interface relates to a method that is based on movement detection; users will be able to select and to display certain portions of a document. The method is detailed in the figure below.