Apple may not have to feed patent troll $533m after all

The lesser-spotted patent troll.
The lesser-spotted patent troll.
Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

In a blow against patent trolls everywhere, a federal judge has thrown out a $532.9 million damages award against Apple, saying that the jury in the case may have had a “skewed damages horizon.”

The case relates to a trial which took place earlier this year, in which a Texas court awarded the company Smartflash a little over half of the $852 million it had asked for, after Apple allegedly infringed on its intellectual property with iTunes features related to data storage and managing access through payment systems.

This simple Lightning dock solution would help avoid unnecessary breakages

Apple's Lightning dock as released earlier this year.
Apple's Lightning dock as released earlier this year.
Photo: Apple

Apple started selling its brand new official Lightning connector dock earlier this year. While it turned out to be a bit less fragile in reality than it looks on first glance, we can’t help but wish Apple had released the Lightning dock shown in a newly-published patent today.

Designed for durability, Apple’s concept connect features a movable Lightning connector that is able to rock back and forth, thereby absorbing what Apple calls “undesirable forces … reducing a likelihood of the connector breaking from misuse.”

It’s such an elegant solution we can’t help wonder — why didn’t Apple use it?

Future iPhones could be unlocked with a selfie

The new way to unlock your iPhone?
The new way to unlock your iPhone?
Photo: Apple/USPTO

Apple may have banned selfie sticks at WWDC, but the company was today granted a patent revealing how future iPhones could be unlocked by snapping a quick photo of yourself.

Entitled “Low threshold face recognition,” the patent describes a means of “reducing the impact of lighting conditions and biometric distortions” that can negatively affect facial recognition for a solution which “can be implemented on camera-equipped consumer portable appliances” — presumably such as the iPhone and iPad, although the second-generation (camera-equipped) Apple Watch 2 wouldn’t be out of the question, either.

The patent that proves Apple wants to put fingerprint scanners inside displays

By

Touch ID as you know it could be about to change.
Touch ID as you know it could be about to change.
Photo: Apple

Recent reports claim that Apple is looking to eliminate the need for a physical “home” button on future iPhones by integrating Touch ID fingerprint sensors into the main display. Now we have the patent application to prove it!

Published Thursday, Cult of Mac got its hands on a patent application entitled “Fingerprint Biometric Sensor Including Drive Signal Level Updating,” which reveals how Apple has been exploring processing circuitry capable of acquiring fingerprint data by using special “sensing pixels” within screens.