Four years after it set the smartphone world on fire, Apple has won a patent for the original iPhone.
This isn’t just old news: it’s a huge win for Apple that will not only help Cupertino out in their case against Samsung, but according to some patent specialists could even allow Apple to go to war against other smartphone makers.
With iOS 5’s new Wireless Syncing functionality, the umbilical cord of your iPhone or iPad has finally dried up and fallen off… except when it needs power, when you have to plug it in to a wall socket.
But Apple’s serious about cutting the cord. Future iOS devices might be truly wireless, sucking in power as wirelessly as they will sync.
If you’ve ever tried to use your iPad while wearing a pair of Ray Bans, you know the drill: you can barely see the display. Counter-intutively, it’s not an issue of brightness: rather, polarized sun-glasses work by only letting in light that vibrates vertically, and the light coming from LCDs vibrates the wrong way.
Your next iPhone or iPad, though? It might change all that.
Apple’s had patents float through the USPTO, hinting that they were working on a new technology that could let you just swipe a future iPhone’s display over a document to scan it and translate it into OCR text. Now a new patent has emerged, and it fits another piece into the puzzle.
See that? It’s a just-awarded patent for an iPad boasting a landscape-oriented dock connector port in addition to the regular port-oriented one.
I’m sure there’s at least a few of you guys out there who are looking at that line-drawing and clawing strips of flesh out of your face in frustration: “ARGH… WHY DIDN’T APPLE RELEASE THAT?” Sorry, guys. The Department of Redundancy Department called, and they wanted their port back.
Hidden inside a sheathe of patents awarded to Apple today is a particularly interesting one that suggests that your future Mac just might be a slab of aluminum that glows.
If you look at the back of your MacBook, it’s pretty easy to piece together Apple’s current process in making the Apple logo glow. They carve a cut-out of the Apple logo in the MacBook lid, close it up with a sheet of opaque white plastic and when your display is on, the light leaking out causes the logo to emit light.
What Apple wants to do is make the logos and LED displays of future Macs glow without carving a hole in the aluminum. They basically want light-emitting logos and indicators to be invisible unless they are emitting light.
Steve Jobs has very clearly spelled out his feelings about multitouch on a desktop or laptop environment. Multitouch, in Apple’s view, is meant to be horizontal, not vertical, which is why you will never see a touchscreen iMac or MacBook. The Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad are Apple’s answer to the problem posed by desktop multitouch.
Makes sense to me. That said, the problem with even the Magic Trackpad is that it’s not real multitouch, in the sense that you are not directly interacting with a display with your fingers. Instead, you’re phoning what your fingers are doing to a connected display, the same as any mouse.
That’s clearly not as elegant a solution as Apple would like, so it’s no surprise to me that a new patent application spells out the possibility of a Magic Mouse with either an “OLED or specialized display surface made of collimated optical glass that contains a unique magnifying capability.”
Steve Jobs has made no bones about being skeptical in regards to multitouch displays on desktop and notebook Macs, observing that multitouch works best when a display is horizontal: anything else just leads to gorilla arm.
Right now, that means that Macs’ multitouch options are limited to accessories like the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, but given the iPad’s success, it’s natural Apple is trying to find a more directly interactive approach to horizontal multitouch, in which the display can convert flush with a lap or a desk when it’s in touch mode.
Now a bevy of new patents have been awarded to Apple, most interestingly in a convertible MacBook-to-iPad-like device, spotted by Patently Apple.