All items tagged with "patent"

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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Apple and Ericsson battle it out over patent royalties

Plenty of money's at stake in the latest lawsuit Apple is wrapped up in. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC

Plenty of money’s at stake in the latest lawsuit Apple is wrapped up in. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC

Ericsson’s former CEO has gone on the record as saying his company should have taken the iPhone more seriously when it arrived back in 2007. Today, everyone takes the iPhone seriously — and there are the lawsuits to prove it.

In the latest of these, Apple and Ericsson are suing each other after failing to come to an agreement about the pricing of Ericsson-owned patents used by Apple.

Apple is claiming Ericsson is chasing excessive royalty rates, while Ericsson is holding out for more cash.

And when you’re talking about a handset like the iPhone 6, which sold upwards of 10 million units in its first weekend, who can blame it for trying?

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Apple could bring Bendgate back — on purpose this time

iPhone6bendy

Could this be your next iPhone? Photo: Yes It’s Funny

The so-called Bendgate incident might have done Apple no favors in 2014, but according to a new patent published today, Cupertino is far from done when it comes to flexible iPhones — this time, purposely so.

Apple’s newly-granted patent covers an invention related to flexible housing for future iOS devices. As described, these devices would be capable of being bent or even folded with no damage to the internal components.

To pull this off, Apple would likely ditch the milled aluminium used in current iPhones for more easily deformable materials such as soft plastics and fiber composites able to withstand repeated flexing.

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Your next Mac could double as a smart smoke alarm

Do you like your iMac crispy? Photo: The Partners/Kevin Lan

Photo: The Partners/Kevin Lan

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.

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Apple invents eco-friendly, flame resistant material for future devices

Do you like your iMac crispy? Photo: The Partners/Kevin Lan

Do you like your iMac crispy? Photo: The Partners/Kevin Lan

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.

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Is Apple building James Bond’s car remote into your iPhone?

James Bond takes his BMW for a spin in Tomorrow Never Dies. Photo: United Artists Pictures

James Bond takes his BMW for a spin in Tomorrow Never Dies. Photo: United Artists Pictures

Your iPhone can make payments, control your smart home, and track your health — and soon it might be able to control your car, as well.

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.

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The ‘iRing’ Tim Cook mocked could be made a reality at Microsoft

It wasn't good enough as a concept for Apple, but since when has that stopped Microsoft?

It wasn’t good enough as a concept for Apple, but since when has that stopped Microsoft?

Tim Cook may have laughed at Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White’s “iRing” prediction, but someone at Microsoft was clearly scratching their chin, intrigued at the idea.

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.

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Apple wins LTE patent case against WiLan

gavel-court-hammer-judge-lawsuit

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.

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Beyond touchscreens: Apple eyes touch-sensitive holographic displays

Photo: Star Wars

Photo: Star Wars

Apple is investigating touch-sensitive holographic displays for future Macs and iOS devices, according to a new patent published today.

As described, the patent would emulate the current touch-based interface for iPhones and tablets, only using near-field proximity in place of physical touch.

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