One of Apple’s key iPhone design patents is no longer protected

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iPhone design
Did iPhones change the way Samsung handsets looked? Yes. Case closed. Oh wait, there are lawyers involved...
Photo: Apple/USPTO

One of Apple’s key iPhone patents has been given a non-final rejection in the still-dragging-on Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit.

The reason? According to a new report, it should never have been granted in the first place, due to an issue with prior art and apparent “obviousness.”

Touch ID will let your Apple TV know which family member is watching

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Apple's new improved TV could be coming as early as this fall.
Touch ID could be the Apple TV's killer app.
Photo: Robert S. DonovanFlickr CC

Apple could opt to include a Touch ID fingerprint sensor in its new Apple TV remote, according to a patent application published today.

Unlike the iPhone and iPad, however, this sensor wouldn’t be used for unlocking your device, but rather quickly making it aware of who is watching at any given time — thereby letting Apple’s long-awaited TV configure volume, screen brightness, and suggested channels on a person-by-person basis. Smart, eh?

Apple wants to play you custom ads when you listen to podcasts

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Apple's looking for a way to monetize its podcasting success.
Apple's looking for a way to monetize its podcasting success.
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The overwhelming majority of mobile podcast listening is done on an iPhone, most of it on Apple’s own Podcasts app, which is why it’s no wonder Apple would be interested in figuring out a way to monetize the service if it can.

In a patent application published today, Apple describes how in the future it could interrupt podcasts with targeted personalized advertisements, by way of Apple’s iAd platform.

Your future iPhone’s Apple logo may be more than just a pretty fruit

Otter-Box-iPhone-6
That weird, random window on your Otter Box case may one day serve a purpose other than letting that part of your iPhone get scratched up.
Photo: Otterbox

That Apple logo on your iPhone sure is pretty, but it doesn’t do a whole lot other than remind you who made your phone in case you forget. It’s kind of lazy that way, really.

But a recently published patent suggests that Apple might put that shiny bobble to use in future models of its hardware.

Apple’s P2P payment patent has a focus on security

Error 53 has finally been fixed.
Touch ID could be a big part of Apple's supposed personal payment plan.
Photo: Apple

In a few years, “Sorry, I don’t have any cash on me” may no longer be a good enough excuse to give that chronically money-strapped friend when they come around asking to borrow a few bucks.

That’s because a newly released Apple patent suggests that the iPhone maker may be getting into the person-to-person payment game in future versions of its hardware.