Apple may build smoke detectors into future Macs and iOS devices, according to a patent application published Thursday.
As users move toward the smart home, courtesy of services like Apple’s HomeKit, the idea is that Macs, iPhones and iPads could intelligently monitor for signs of a fire and trigger various mechanisms accordingly.
This could mean sending users a text or email alerting them of the danger, calling 911 for emergency assistance, or even activating fire suppression equipment.
A patent published today shows that Apple is investigating new halogen free, flame-retardant materials for use in its devices.
According to Apple, only about 12% of plastics currently contain flame retardants. An increased use of such materials would improve the safety of electrical wiring and electronic devices, and help reduce the number of fires caused by electronic devices as a result.
Halogenated flame retardants have been found to be effective in many plastics, but these are increasingly regulated as a result of environmental concerns. Since sustainability is a big topic for Apple, the company therefore wanted to discover a material that would possess similar fire-retardant qualities, while also not being damaging to the environment.
Tuesday’s patent describes a material with these qualities, that also produces only negligible amounts of toxic substances while burning. As per Apple, the material could be used in devices including the iMac, MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPad.
A new patent published Thursday describes a way of using the iPhone’s geo-location capabilities to intelligently monitor and control certain car functions, based on “geofences.”
Likely pairing with Apple’s vehicle-based OS, CarPlay, the patent notes how your car could be tracked in relation to your iPhone — with appropriate signals, sent using Bluetooth LE, to execute functions like locking your car and arming its alarm when you are a certain distance from the vehicle.
That’s based on a recently published patent application from Microsoft showing how the company has investigated a finger ring as a possible future wearable device. Microsoft’s impressive-sounding wireless ring could be used as an input device either to control a cursor on a mobile device such as a tablet, smartphone, or even a head-up display like Google Glass.
A U.S. judge has ruled in Apple’s favor in litigation filed against the company by Canadian patent licensing company WiLan, reports Reuters, after the judge issued a public statement on the case Wednesday afternoon.
Apple was being sued for supposedly violating two LTE patents held by WiLan, but a summary judgement from Judge Dana Sabraw ruled that the patents were invalid and note infringed.
Future iOS devices could vary user alerts based on where you are at any given moment.
Call alerts are all well and good but — even on the Apple Watch, when they’re being delivered directly to your wrist — it’s likely that there will be situations when users won’t be aware of them, and could miss important calls or alerts as a result.
Apple’s trying to crack that problem with a new patent published Tuesday, describing a “Self adapting alert device” that would vary the volume or style of user notifications to your iPhone or Apple Watch depending on where you are at the time.
Apple’s new patent application shows how Apple might further strengthen its sapphire crystal using an “ion implanting” method.
Whether or not the upcoming iPhone 6 will sport a sapphire crystal display or not is something we’ll have to wait to find out for sure, but the ultra-strong material used by many high end watch manufacturers is certainly something Apple has spent a lot of time investigating.
Some of those investigations have led to a new patent application published today, revealing how Apple plans a technique for strengthening glass by using an “ion implanting” method as opposed to the kind of chemical coatings used for, say, Corning’s Gorilla Glass.
According to the application, the reason for this is that the kind of traditional chemical strengthening techniques used on glass screens might not be effective when used on materials like sapphire.
The use of radial menus would give Apple an alternative to the pull-down menus currently used in most applications — allowing context-specific menus and submenus to be created at optimal positions close to a user’s mouse cursor or, in the case of an iPhone or iPad, their finger.
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a new series of Apple-related patents, including an historic 2008 filing for an Apple camera. While the patent covers both a standalone camera (something Apple hasn’t done since the QuickTake camera launched in 1994) and a camera integrated into a PDA, it is likely that this is the patent which covers the original iPhone.