All items tagged with "patent"

Apple wants to make its Maps app directions a bit more human

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

Apple wants to overhaul its mapping navigation system, providing a solution that is more reminiscent of a real human navigator, according to a patent application uncovered by Cult of Mac today.

In doing so, the company could improve its long-maligned Apple Maps app, while also gaining ground on rivals such as Google.

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Future iPhones could advise your friends to quit bugging you

iPhone patent would take a note out of the I.M. playbook. Photo: Kiwihen

iPhone patent would take a note out of the I.M. playbook. Photo: Kiwihen

The iPhone is more advanced than it’s ever been, but there’s one thing Apple’s smartphone can do no better than the Nokia 3310 I had when I was a teenager: stop you getting calls at inappropriate times.

That may be about to change, however, as a newly-published patent describes an Instant Message-type system whereby future iPhones could automatically broadcast their user’s status — essentially advising others on whether it’s a good time to ring or not.

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This wacky Samsung smartwatch looks like something He-Man would wear

"I have the power! smartwatch!" Photo:

“I have the power! smartwatch!” Photo: Filmation Associates/Mattel

Samsung’s not had too much luck with smartwatches, but a newly-published patent application shows that it’s not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

The patent describes what is less a traditional watch than a wristband or He-Man-style manacle. It features a wraparound widescreen display, able to function in both bent and flat states, and describes its possible applications as multimedia viewing and communication.

After all, you never know when you’ll need to summon Battle Cat to help in your ongoing war with Skeletor and his cronies!

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Apple’s new gesture tech could bring Star Wars-style Force controls to Mac

These may not be the droids you're looking for, but it could be the patent you want. Photo:

These may not be the droids you’re looking for, but it could be the patent you want. Photo: Lucasfilm

Apple may have already used the name “Force Touch” for its touch-sensitive tech, but if you’re a sci-fi fan who’s ever dreamed of wielding The Force to control your Mac with an Obi Wan-like sweep of the hand, you could be in luck.

Apple today published a patent for a technology which describes in-air 3D gesturing which allows it to accurately establish not only where a user’s hand might be, but also what it is doing. As such, it opens up the possibility of creating detailed hand poses for triggering different actions.

Throwing up a pair of hand horns to get AC/DC blaring out on iTunes? Yes please.

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Force Touch could make your next Mac keyboard a virtual one

Photo: Matt Buchanan CC

Typing on your iMac may one day be like using your iPad. With one crucial difference. Photo: Matt Buchanan/Flickr CC

Apple’s magical Force Touch trackpad — which uses haptic technology to make the new MacBook trackpad feel like it’s clicking, even when it’s not — was unveiled at the company’s recent “Spring Forward” event.

But a patent application published today suggests that this is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the interest in haptic technology on the part of Tim Cook and co. The application describes a whole virtual keyboard for the iMac, meaning that users could type onto a flat glass or metallic plate, but would still be able to feel the individual keys.

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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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Apple really could be about to launch its own stylus

Photo: Martin Hajek

One concept of how an Apple Pen stylus might look. Photo: Martin Hajek

Steve Jobs famously hated styluses — but as of late there’s been more and more to suggest that the forthcoming 12-inch+ iPad Pro could sport an optional, Apple-created pen to help act as an input device.Today, there’s a bit more fuel to the fire in the form of a newly published Apple patent application, describing an “active stylus” concept.

And, you know what, the more I hear, the more I’m convinced this could wipe away the bad memories of the dumb styluses of old.

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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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Future iPads could have PS Vita-style touch controls on the back

Your next iPad? Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Your next iPad? Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

As we use our iOS devices for more and more tasks in daily life, a big question facing Apple is exactly how to squeeze more functionality out of limited screen real estate. The iPhone 6 Plus and the rumored 12-inch iPad Pro offer the simplest answer to this conundrum: make the devices bigger.

But a new patent application published today offers another potential way around the problem, without compromising the gorgeous one-button simplicity of Apple’s mobile devices.

Filed in August 2014, the “Configurable Input Device” patent application describes how Apple may consider incorporating sensor regions for user input on the back of iPads, thereby opening up a whole new way of using your favorite apps.

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