Archive Posts

Could your next iPad Smart Cover Also Charge your Tablet or Phone?

March 18th, 2013

The United States Patent and Trademark Office have this week released details of some interesting patents from Apple. The current one under scrutiny shows an Apple iPad Smart Cover with a battery inside capable of wirelessly charging your device.

The patent details how the Smart Cover will determine if it is in use and in what position. When the Smart Cover is in the closed position and the iPad not in use, the cover will close the circuit and activate the wireless charging between the iPad and the cover.

Essentially this is like a battery pack for the iPad, which begs the question why Apple aren’t improving the battery life of the tablet. It also begs the question why are Apple making the battery and iPad wirelessly charge when the two are physically connected when in use?

I think this patent detail is one if the clear signs that Apple are putting the technology and the patent in their name to prevent other companies from releasing the product to market. Or, do Apple have bigger plans for the system? It has been suggested that the iPad Smart Cover could also wirelessly charge your iPhone? Would that be of more use?

More innovations and developments are also needed with battery packs before this product can be seen as the patented Apple Smart Cover does require a lot of bending and folding for its primary use before the battery packs are inserted. Weight will also be a big issue Apple will need to keep in mind, if this us something they’re actually creating!

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Judge May Delay Decisions in US Apple/Samsung Lawsuit

February 17th, 2013

Judge Lucy Koh is the infamous Judge now looking over the Samsung v Apple patent case in the US and is finally trying to bring everything between the two companies to a conclusion.

Judge Koh has famously previously stated that she wants to bring the two sides to a conclusion for the good of the technology, the overall market, and the consumers, who are frankly fed up of the two companies suing and counter-suing and appealing against every decision made.

There are currently two cases in Judge Koh’s courts in the US both relating to patent infringements by Samsung, who Apple believed have copied their registered patents and included them in the designs of the Samsung Galaxy phone and tablet line up. Though the two cases were originally filed separately she has asked both parties if the two cases can be looked at together, as the two have now come into overlap because of the appeals being filed. Samsung are of the opinion they look at both together, Apple are of the opinion they are tried separately.

The delay in the decision will come if the two cases are bought into one. Currently the two cases are scheduled for September 2013 and March 2014, with Apple (unsuccessfully) seeking a sales ban on the affected Samsung devices until the case can be heard.

Hopefully decisions will be reached in the other countries across the globe that is seeing this trial and 2015 will bring around a completely different year for the two companies… maybe…

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Apple’s E-Wallet Patent

January 18th, 2013

Published this week from the United States Patent and Trademark Office is a patent relating to the Apple E-Wallet – at the moment a concept from the company that is looking to be integrated into the iPhone line up allowing users to have an E-Wallet account with multiple users.

The patent shows a main host account which is tied to a credit card, but then users are allowed to have subsidiary accounts tied to the host account with spending limits, bans on purchasing certain products etc. The main focus for this is for parents to have subsidiary accounts for their children, which have a spending limit per month or have a restriction on what they are allowed to buy or where from i.e. no alcohol purchases for children under the age limit.

The E-Wallet is also looking to be integrated with near-field communication chips (NFC technology), this is more widely known as the contactless payment system in the UK.

Of course, this is all patent applications and Apple often file patents for products to merely stake their claim in the market ready for further future development, but I really hope this one comes soon!

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Samsung Hasn’t Infringed iPad Patents – or at least they haven’t in the Netherlands

January 17th, 2013

This court case is ongoing across the globe and is strangely seeing different results in different countries, all mounting to people’s interpretation of the patents themselves.

The Netherlands court in The Hague have found that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, 8.9 and 7.7 have not infringed patents held by Apple which relate to the “round corners” design of the tablets.

The court has ruled that Apple does not have the hold over a rectangular shape with rounded corners and are not the only people who can produce tablets of this shape. They have found many earlier references to these design features in numerous examples before the launch of the iPad.

The UK court also ruled this way in October last year, deciding that Samsung had not infringed on Apple’s patents for the rounded rectangle and the company were forced to publish a public apology to Samsung for any bad feeling they may have received whilst the two companies were involved in the dispute.

In other countries this battle is getting messier and messier with the two companies constantly fighting their patents. When will it end? We’d like to know. Answers on a postcard please.

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Apple Were Once On the Wrong Side of a Patent Case

October 9th, 2012

The New York Times has this week dug into the past of Apple and their need to get everything agreed and patented that they have in production; because it once cost them $100 million for not doing so.

Steve Jobs was the man at the helm of Apple at the time and the driving force behind the first generation Apple iPod, what we thought was a revolution in music at the time.However they were sued by Creative Technology whom had already filed and patented a “portable music playback device”. This error cost Apple the $100 million and from that day forwards Steve Jobs decided that Apple were going to patent everything possible!

It was also from that day where engineers at Apple who were at the forefront of the design and innovation were called to monthly meetings with lawyers where everything new they were working on was discussed and decided if it could be patented to protect the company. It was also reported that even if some of the technology couldn’t be patented that Apple would try anyway, to stop another company from doing so.

Apple have always looked out for their assets and technology since this date, with Steve Jobs even announcing on the launch of the iPhone at the MacWorld expo “boy have we patented it”, yet companies still looked to copy and break these patents that were in place. Certain features of the iPhone including the slide to unlock feature has taken the company years to perfect and it is signature to the Apple Mobile Operating system, other rival companies shouldn’t be able to copy that without consequence.

Of course, Apple always seem to be held up in courtroom battles over patents, and last year the company spent more on patenting than research and development… but why research and create new technology if you aren’t going to protect yourself from others copying it?

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Could You Soon Unlock Your iPad With Your Fingerprint?

August 19th, 2012

Apple’s business philosophy has always been straight and simple; if you don’t own the technology you want, purchase the company that does.

This has been true with Apple’s recent purchase of a 3D mapping company, for which we are soon to see the 3D maps in the upcoming release of iOS 6.. The other recent purchase for the tech giant, back in July 2012, of AuthenTec, is yet to be revealed what this will be used for.

The company specialise in 2D fingerprint scanners, and Apple insisted they “urgently” needed this new technology. The two companies tried to reach a deal in February this year to agree commercial terms for the technology, but when these talks failed Apple decided to buy the company instead.

Due to the urgency stated by Apple, could they be investing this technology into the New iPhone 5? Or could this be coming to the New iPad release in 2013? Or… will we have to wait longer, perhaps 2014 or 2015 until we see this technology in our everyday tablets and phones.

The other exciting potential for this technology is in payment processing, and for an app to need a verified finger print to process a mobile payment would surely make all transactions more secure.

Where do you think we will see this technology?

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iPad Smart Cover to Incorporate a Flexible Display?

August 3rd, 2012

Revealed on Patently Apple earlier today an Apple patent originally filed in August 2011shows the companies intention to put a thin flexible display into the Smart Cover on the iPad.

The original drawings posted alongside the patent resemble the visuals we have all seen for the Microsoft Surface tablet, with the cover acting as a keyboard/display for the device. Apple have been constantly trying to develop new ways for the user to receive some typing feedback (like a key press on a traditional keyboard) as a way to know that the key has been positively pressed.

The cover which incorporates the keyboard also shows an area for a flexible display, as a secondary display for the iPad itself. This area could show the app icons or the notifications for the device.

Apple are often known to publish dummy patent applications, to throw others off the scent of their current developments or to gain patents for technology they think others will be developing. Does this mean that Apple are holding the technology Microsoft want to use? Or is it the other way around?

Either way, if this is true Apple fans across the world look forwards to seeing this technology come to life.

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Apple Integrate Antennas into Device Screens

May 2nd, 2012

Patently Apple have this week reported some interesting findings regarding a recently filed patent application from Apple referencing cellular-data antennas being integrated into screens of devices.

The focus of the patent application is around integrating a cellular antenna into the trackpad of a MacBook. We have seen the plans and details for a 3G/4G MacBook in the making for some time, with many different patent applications being thrown around. Some of these applications are to throw people off the scent, or even to cover Apple in the event that someone else wants to bring one of the ideas to the market.

This patent however does have weight behind it in that we know of the plans to release a MacBook with 3/4G capability.

The application does expand, to integrating the antenna within the screen of a mobile device, including the iPad or the iPhone. With all of the problems Apple have had with the glass back to the current iPhone 4, if they were to change this to a metal back and integrate the antenna into the screen it would have no adverse effect on the 3/4G signal. Or, integrating the connectivity into the screen of an iPad?

Do you think this application is to throw us off the scent or something that is plausible and in the pipeline?

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Apple’s Patent for Micro Sim Connector

April 10th, 2012

Apple have revealed the details from one of their most recent patent applications, which includes a connector for Micro-Sim cards for new devices.

The patent couldn’t have been timed better, with Nokia threatening to withdraw their 50 or so patent applications for “sim card related” designs and innovations, in light of Apple potentially stealing the lime-light from them.

Apple are not only planning to use the micro sim connector in upcoming designs for the iPhone and iPad, but the flexibility of the detail included within the patent could have Apple putting sim cards into other devices such as a MacBook Pro, iPod Touch, a monitor or even the Apple TV. The Apple forums have been full of people hoping for a 3G MacBook Pro, maybe this innovation of the micro-sim adaptor could be the latest step needed for Apple to release the design.

It is not just the housing of the physical sim card that the patent details, more with the safe transfer of the sim between multiple devices. The new micro sim connector will allow for each device to have the same housing for the sim card and therefore it will be easy to transfer your data between an iPad and a MacBook, or an iPad and an iPhone.

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Apple take MultiPlayer Gaming to a New Level with latest Patent Application

March 15th, 2012

The US Patent and Trademark office have today published a patent revealing details of the latest innovation in multiplayer gaming for iOS devices. Along with the imminent launch of the new iPad, this multiplayer gaming patent will revolutionise the way users play apps on their iPhone’s and iPad’s.

The patent reveals a number of gaming examples and details how each player will be able to view common objects from a variety of angles, each calculating the relative position of each device to one another. The technology behind the Apple app “Find my Friend” last year is used in this patent to aid the multi-player gaming.

Currently when playing a variety of games on iOS, the device can work out a sequence of order of play. Each player is given the information to play the game in the correct order, whether it be a game of battleships or cards or many other examples (including the popular words with friends app). This new patent looks to reference a real object but from different points of view and different angles and therefore can tell the relative positioning of one player to another because of how the referenced object appears to each player.

The full patent application and details can be seen at


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