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Apple patent hints at the amazing future of Force Touch

Apple Watch's Force Touch tech could be about to get a whole lot better. Photo: Apple

Apple Watch’s Force Touch tech could be about to get a whole lot better. Photo: Apple

The Force Touch technology seen in the Apple Watch and new MacBook is pretty great and all, but imagine being able to go further than the relatively simple haptic feedback Apple currently offers — by having your future Mac trackpad actually simulate different textures when you run your hand over it.

That’s the aim of a new patent application published today, which describes a new diamond-layered touch surface capable of using a variety of vibrations and temperatures to recreate a range of textures.

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Apple secures patents for magical Watch bands just in time

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The Apple Watch’s Classic Buckle and Link Bracelet bands. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

The first batch of Apple Watch preorders are starting to ship for delivery, and Apple has been awarded some key patents for its band designs.

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Apple patent puts a twist on facial recognition unlocking

Photo: David Schiersner

You selfies may soon unlock (and lock) your iPhone. Photo: David Schiersner

Apple is looking to up its selfie game in a new patent awarded to the company by the United States Patent and Trademark Offices today. The new patent would allow iPhone and iPad users to unlock their devices by simply taking a selfie, rather than using Touch ID or a passcode.

Android phones have had facial unlocking features for year, and there have been iOS jailbreak hacks as well, but Apple’s patent comes with a twist – devices will also automatically lock when they don’t recognize your face.

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Apple defeats patent trolls in courtroom combat

The lesser-spotted patent troll. Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Want… Apple… money. Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Chalk one up for Cupertino! A federal jury in Texas (where else?) said on Monday that Apple didn’t infringe on five wireless tech patents belonging to the patent licensing company Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc.

The verdict comes as a relief, since it follows one month on from a jury in the same Texas courthouse ordering Apple to pay out $532.9 million for iTunes-related patent infringement: one of the biggest examples of damages awarded in patent history.

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Apple ordered to feed patent troll $533 million

The lesser-spotted patent troll. Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Want… Apple… money. Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Apple has been ordered to shell out $532.9 million to a patent troll after apparently infringing on intellectual property with iTunes features related to data storage and managing access through payment systems.

The fee was awarded by a Texas court, and was positioned between the $852 million Smartflash was seeking in damages and the $4.5 million Apple had argued for.

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What Apple’s patents tell us about a possible iCar

Game on: Apple patents snap-on iOS gamepad

The Wikipad GameVice will strap to the sides of your iPad mini for buttons with your large screen. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Apple’s patent cover a Wikipad GameVice-style accessory capable of attaching to your iOS device. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

What is it with Apple and the gaming-related patents as of late?

Just weeks after the publishing of an Apple patent showing a concealed gaming joystick capable of being hidden in future iPhones, today the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office has revealed another Apple invention related to a snap-on gaming controller for iOS devices.

As with the joystick patent, the idea here is to allow gamers to fully capitalize on the present golden age of iOS gaming, without having to block parts of the screen using their fingers for multitouch controls.

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Apple and Ericsson battle it out over patent royalties

Plenty of money's at stake in the latest lawsuit Apple is wrapped up in. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC

Plenty of money’s at stake in the latest lawsuit Apple is wrapped up in. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC

Ericsson’s former CEO has gone on the record as saying his company should have taken the iPhone more seriously when it arrived back in 2007. Today, everyone takes the iPhone seriously — and there are the lawsuits to prove it.

In the latest of these, Apple and Ericsson are suing each other after failing to come to an agreement about the pricing of Ericsson-owned patents used by Apple.

Apple is claiming Ericsson is chasing excessive royalty rates, while Ericsson is holding out for more cash.

And when you’re talking about a handset like the iPhone 6, which sold upwards of 10 million units in its first weekend, who can blame it for trying?

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Apple just patented a wearable camera that’s better than GoPro

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GoPro shares have dropped 42 percent since hitting an all-time high in October. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Shares of GoPro stock plummeted as much as 15% this afternoon after it was announced that Apple was awarded a patent that could put the wearable camera company in serious trouble.

Apple was granted a series of 34 patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today relating to a camera system that can be mounted to helmets and scuba masks and controlled remotely. That patent specifically mentions weaknesses in GoPro’s system, which has sent investors worrying that Apple is aiming to crush the sports camera giant.

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Patent troll threatens Apple with legal action over iCloud violation

The lesser-spotted patent troll. Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

The lesser-spotted patent troll. Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Imagine a lifetime job with Apple, that doesn’t require you going into the office every day, from which you can never be fired, but which still gives you a sizeable guaranteed paycheck at the end of each month.

If that sounds like a dream come true, apparently you share the same utopian vision as a little company called Hall Data Sync Technologies: a non-practicing patent troll company which just filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple.

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