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.
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Just a couple of days ago, we saw a leaked case for the iPod nano that seemed to confirm that Apple intends on ditching the sports clip and integrating a 1.3 megapixel camera instead. At the time, we wondered just why Apple would do such a thing.
Now it looks like we know: it’s so the Nano can look out into the world and see just where it’s being used, then adapt itself like a chamelon accordingly.
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.
We have just learned that a new patent has confirmed Cult of Mac’s earlier report that Apple is working on ambitious remote computing tech that would allow files and settings to be transferred between the Mac and iPhone through a Near Field Communications (NFC) chip.
Look at any of Apple’s newest iPods — the new Shuffle, the touchscreen nano, the iPod Touch — and you will find three devices as tiny, svelte or both as Cupertino can possibly make them. In fact, all of these devices are scarcely thicker at this point than the width of their widest single element —the 3.5mm audio jack — which means that if they are ever going to lose any more chunk, that audio jack is going to need to get even smaller.
It turns out that is exactly what Apple is currently working on, according to a recently filed patent. The new audio jacks uses deflectable “pogo pins”, instead of the usual cantilever beams which extend into a jack cavity and are pushed out of the way when your headphone plug is inserted, allowing audio and electricity to be transmitted.
The team at Patently Apple mined a patent granted today to find what may be future gold: more evidence that the Cupertino company is toying with the idea of touchscreen iMacs and MacBooks.
After slogging through patent no. 20100100947, titled “Scheme for Authenticating without Password Exchange,” they discovered a flowchart illustrating a touchscreen that could be associated with both a Macbook and a small desktop.
In a patent that even these document hounds defined “obscure,” the flowchart they sniffed out points to a touchscreen component not restricted to the iPhone.
A feature called “Now Playing,” launched in fall 2007, allowed latte-sippers to wander into a Starbucks, log onto the iTunes Store with a laptop, iPod Touch or iPhone and instantly see what song was playing in-store, plus browse and buy music on iTunes.
Unwired View found a patent Apple filed for a similar feature.
The basic idea: place a local cache of iTunes media store server at a retail location and follow the music played from that cache. The associated info is beamed to iPhones and Macbooks via local Wi-Fi network.
Apple envisions lots of in-store tie-ins and cross selling thanks to the feature.
From the patent application:
“One advantage of the invention is that patrons of establishments can dynamically receive store-based information while at the establishments. Store-based information facilitates user experience and can also facilitate locating associated media content from an online media store.
In store-based information can be displayed on a patron’s portable electronic device while the patron in the store… The online media store can coordinate with central management to make store-based information centrally stored and accessible…”
Via Unwired View