Everything else in our lives has gone wireless, but here we are, still slurping electricity through wires like a bunch of cavemen. When will it end? Soon, soothes Apple. The mad scientists in their lab at Cupertino have just patented a method to supply wireless charging to a number of nearby devices.
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As a great man once said, “Can’t we all just get along?”
Sadly when you’re talking about tech companies, and products worth billions of dollars, the answer is a resounding “no”.
One of our favorite toys here at Cult of Mac is the the Lytro, a bizarre and radically cool digital camera that allows you to refocus your images after you snap them. The Lytro is fairly big — it’s about the size of a small flashlight — and the pictures it outputs are pathetically low-resolution by modern smartphone standards, but the promise is obvious: with the Lytro, you might never take a bad photo again.
The Lytro’s so incredible that before he died Steve Jobs reportedly wanted to put its light field technology into the iPhone. Today, Apple has patented a method of doing just that.
Back in 2010, Apple was seemingly randomly sued by an eccentric 70-year-old crank who claimed to have “come up with the idea” of the smartphone. That lawsuit has now come to trial, and the crank has lost, but what’s confusing is how torn the jury seems to have been by the decision, even going so far as to call the alleged smartphone creator a “little guy” crushed by big business.
Apple has the exclusive license to liquidmetal, prompting all sorts of speculation that we would sooner or later see liquid metal iPhones, iPads and Macs. Despite this, so far, we’ve only seen Apple release one “product” using liquidmetal: the iPhone SIM ejector tool.
But Apple’s liquidmetal plans might be gearing up. The company has just filed five new patents, explaining the process by which it would use liquidmetal to build next-gen smartphones, tablets and digital displays.
In latest news from the Samsung vs. Apple patent case, Samsung on Wednesday filed an emergency motion with presiding Judge Lucy Koh to halt Apple’s damages retrial.
Why the halt? Because according to court documents, the US Patent and Trademark Office has suggested that Apple’s “pinch to zoom” patent (which much of the patent trial revolves around) might not actually be valid.
Since Apple won a $1 billion lawsuit against Samsung for patent infringement last summer, both companies have been fighting to determine how the ruling will actually unfold. In March of this year, the presiding judge for the case subtracted $450 million from what Samsung owed Apple due to the jury’s miscalculations for damages.
The Apple vs. Samsung retrial kicked off earlier this week in California court, and Apple requested an additional $380 in damages from Samsung on top of the $600 million already owed. Samsung believes it should only have to pay Apple $52 million for infringing on five patents related to the iPhone.
Today Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of marketing, took the stand in court to talk about the iPhone’s importance to Apple, calling it a “bet-the-company” product. He also got pretty snarky about Samsung copying Apple.
Schiller began his testimony by recounting the original iPhone’s launch and the product’s success to date. He expressed frustration that Samsung started making phones that looked just like the iPhone after Apple started seeing success in the smartphone market. Schiller said he was ”quite shocked” when he first saw the Samsung Galaxy. “My first thought was, ‘They’ve copied the iPhone.’”
These first few years of the iPhone’s existence have been “an incredibly important time” for Apple, said Schiller. And Samsung’s infringement has made it “harder for us to get new customers and bring them into our ecosystem.” The iPhone is Apple’s biggest money-maker by far. “At this point, it’s fair to say that most everyone at Apple works on iPhone,” said Schiller from the stand. “It’s our biggest product.”
While being cross-examined by Samsung’s lawyers, Schiller gave off a little Jobsian snark with his responses:
Schiller on Samsung gaining while other android makers lost share. “One is copying. the other are not copying… as much.” #icourt
— Ina Fried (@inafried) November 15, 2013
Samsung atty shows Schiller a Samsung device and Schiller says – “I can’t tell from here. It looks like an iPad to me.” #icourt
— Shara Tibken (@sharatibken) November 15, 2013
The retrial is expected to close next week.
- Via CNET
- Image AP
Remember those old “home of the future” TV episodes from the 1970s, which invariably ended up with something going wrong and an automated voice yelling warning messages?
Well, someone at Apple does too (hopefully minus the “something going wrong” part), since Apple’s latest patent — issued by the U.S. Patent Office — describes a wireless communication system able to predict when to turn on devices such as your lighting or air conditioning based on your current location as opposed to a pre-programmed routine.
UPDATE: Looks like FreshPatents isn’t so fresh. Despite labeling this patent as “new,” it seems it was first published back in March. Nevertheless, it’s still a pretty interesting one, so we’ll leave it here for those who haven’t seen it before.
You don’t know the true meaning of pain until you’ve dropped your shiny new iPhone on a hard surface. If you’re lucky, it will land on its back and your case will protect it, but if you’re not, it’ll land flat on its face and you’ll need a new display. But what if there was a way of ensuring it landed on its back every time?
A new Apple patent that covers a “Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device” describes how future iPhones and other mobile devices could have built-in motors that automatically flip them over in mid-air after they’ve been dropped to protect vulnerable areas.
The U.S. government has no love for Samsung after the Korean company requested that President Obama veto a sales import ban that had been placed on some of its older products. Back in August, the ITC ruled in favor of Apple and placed a ban on several Samsung phones and tablets that infringe on Apple’s patents.
Samsung had hoped that the ban would be vetoed, but no dice.