Apple patent involves handling special windows in a display
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Apple patent involves handling special windows in a display

Apple has been granted a patent (number 7844902) by the US Patent & Trademark Office for an apparatus and method for handling special windows in a display. It could foreshadow some changes in upcoming versions of Mac OS X.

The apparatus and method for handling special windows in a display comprises a window manager in an operating system that is called by application programs to create special windows. The window manager embeds static key signals including encoded special window information, such as the coordinates of a window area to be specially processed, into a video RAM. An existing video interface scans the video RAM and transmits display information, including the key signals, to the display.

The present invention further comprises a window decoder in the display, that detects the key signals, extracts the encoded special window information, and controls display circuitry performing the desired special processing. The key signal encoding scheme does not create visually discernible display aberrations that could distract the user or interfere with normal window management. The inventors are Richard D. Cappels Sr., Christoph Horst Krah and Johanna M. Andrews.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Effective presentation of visual information is an important consideration for manufacturers, designers, and users of displays. Such displays are commonly used for interfacing with computers. Many modern computer operating systems use graphical user interfaces that enclose information from application programs in separate viewing areas or windows in a display to simplify information management.

"These special windows in a display may be used for presentation of different types of information than are typically shown in the remainder of the display. In some applications, use of a special window in a display may be desirable to help distinguish or differently process information. For example, a computer system may present video information from a video source (such as a video camera or video tape recorder) in a special window, while simultaneously presenting more traditional computer-generated information such as text and graphics in the rest of the display.

"Conventional computer displays are designed to present text and graphics, but are not specifically designed to present video information. Luminance levels in conventional computer displays are usually considerably lower than the luminance levels used in conventional video monitors or television screens. Video information presented in conventional computer displays thus appears to have less contrast between bright and dark areas, and tends to look rather murky. Raising luminance levels is one possible way to enhance the presentation of video information in computer displays, but problems may arise from indiscriminately raising luminance levels over the entire display surface.

"For example, text or graphics outside the special window may become blurred, decreasing the overall effectiveness of the display. Furthermore, continuously raising luminance levels over the entire display surface may unacceptably accelerate the aging of the display tube. These problems could be avoided with an effective means for identifying and locating the limited portions of a special display window to be advantageously processed.

"The coordinates of a special display window may be transmitted to a display via a separate data channel. For example, the serial interface available on most modern computers may be dedicated to this purpose. However, this potential solution presents a number of difficulties. First, such a system would demand significant additional hardware within a computer system; a second serial interface card would have to be managed by the computer system. Second, the signals generated by such serial interface hardware would have to be precisely calibrated with the horizontal and vertical video synchronization signals going to the display. Finally, significant software development would be required to coordinate such a dual-channel interface system.

"Therefore, for the foregoing reasons, an improved apparatus and method for handling special windows in a display is needed, in accordance with the present invention. In accordance with the present invention, an apparatus and method are disclosed to handle special windows in a display.

"In one embodiment of the present invention, windows comprise frames that are created by an operating system, and content areas that are created by an application program. The windows are special if they include content areas or portions of content areas that are to be specially processed, such as being displayed with higher than normal luminance. Software developers preferably trigger special window creation by calling a window manager, which includes operating system functions specifically designed to simplify special window use.

"In accordance with the present invention, special windows include key signals that enable display circuitry to identify windows to be specially processed. The key signals also include information needed by display circuitry to locate the boundaries of the portion of the content area to be specially processed. The key signals are preferably static patterns in a special window, so that no separate signals or second communication channel beyond the existing video interface are required to trigger special processing. The operating system places digital representations of all display information, including special windows, into a video RAM in the preferred embodiment. The existing video interface circuitry scans the video RAM and produces video signals to be sent to the display. A window decoder in the display detects the key signals, extracts the embedded special window information from the key signals and controls the display circuitry performing the special processing desired.

"Key signals are patterns of colored pixel (picture element) pairs. A color coding scheme enables storage of key signal information in a manner that is easily detectable by the window decoder, yet is not visually discernible, given the limited acuity of the human eye. In additive color display systems, primary colors (red, green, blue) can be mixed to produce secondary colors (yellow, cyan, magenta). If a pixel of a primary color is placed next to a pixel of an opposite secondary color (that is, one not including the primary color) of equal luminance, the resulting pixel pair resembles a single pixel that is an achromatic gray in color. This enables the key signal to be plainly displayed in a gray window frame without causing visual distraction. One primary color channel serves as the data signal, and another is used as a complement to produce the achromatic gray color of pixel pairs.

"The key signal color coding scheme preferably uses the remaining primary color channel in the existing video interface as a video clock signal. A separate clock in the window decoder is synchronized to the video clock signal when a key signal is present. The separate but synchronous internal clock is continuously available to the window decoder, and enables the use of a precise but relative (versus absolute) display coordinate system. The location of any pixel in the display can be determined and controlled by the time elapsed since the last horizontal and vertical synchronization pulses in the existing video interface. No second communications channel for transmission of external timing pulses for precise pixel location is required. The window decoder can use key signal information and existing synchronization pulses to control the timing, and thus location, of special processing for desired portions of the display with respect to the upper left corner of the display.

"Key signal information includes start and stop sequences, code sequences to distinguish a key signal from other display data, horizontal and vertical offset values, and a CRC checksum. The horizontal and vertical position of the key signal and the horizontal and vertical offset values can be summed by the window decoder to yield the coordinates of the portion of the content area to be specially processed. The window decoder uses the other sequences in a variety of means for verifying the presence of a window intended to be specially processed. Accidental special processing could be very distracting to the user and should be avoided.

"For example, key signals preferably identifying upper left and lower right corners of the portion of the content area to be specially processed should be detected in one scan, and should persist for a set number of scans. Similarly, code sequences should match a pair of preset sequences, and three bits of unchanging color, as in a gray frame, should be present prior to the start sequence of each key signal. Many other conditions used to avoid accidental special processing are described in the detailed description of the present invention. Once the window decoder enables special processing, the window decoder disables special processing only when no special windows exist, or when the special window is occluded by another window."

Apple has also won design patents for the iPhone's Music and Main Inbox interfaces and one for the MiniDisplay Port.

-- Dennis Sellers

 
AAPL
$97.67
Apple Inc.
+1.41
MSFT
$43.63
Microsoft Corpora
+0.89
GOOG
$511.17
Google Inc.
-13.34

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

MenuMeters 1.8 - CPU, memory, disk, and...
MenuMeters is a set of CPU, memory, disk, and network monitoring tools for Mac OS X. Although there are numerous other programs which do the same thing, none had quite the feature set I was looking... Read more
Coda 2.5 - One-window Web development su...
Coda is a powerful Web editor that puts everything in one place. An editor. Terminal. CSS. Files. With Coda 2, we went beyond expectations. With loads of new, much-requested features, a few... Read more
Arq 4.6.1 - Online backup to Google Driv...
Arq is super-easy online backup for the Mac. Back up to your own Google Drive storage (15GB free storage), your own Amazon Glacier ($.01/GB per month storage) or S3, or any SFTP server. Arq backs up... Read more
Airfoil 4.8.10 - Send audio from any app...
Airfoil allows you to send any audio to AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, and even other Macs and PCs, all in sync! It's your audio - everywhere. With Airfoil you can take audio from any... Read more
Apple iMovie 10.0.6 - Edit personal vide...
With an all-new design, Apple iMovie lets you enjoy your videos like never before. Browse your clips more easily, instantly share your favorite moments, and create beautiful HD movies and Hollywood-... Read more
OnyX 2.8.8 - Maintenance and optimizatio...
OnyX is a multifunctional utility for OS X. It allows you to verify the startup disk and the structure of its System files, to run miscellaneous tasks of system maintenance, to configure the hidden... Read more
Parallels Desktop 10.1 - Run Windows app...
Parallels Desktop is simply the world's bestselling, top-rated, and most trusted solution for running Windows applications on your Mac. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, you can seamlessly run both... Read more
Apple Keynote 6.5 - Apple's present...
Apple Keynote makes it simple to create and deliver beautiful presentations. Powerful tools and dazzling effects bring your ideas to life. You can work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And... Read more
OmniPlan 2.3.7 - Robust project manageme...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Flavours 1.1.16 - Create and apply theme...
Flavours is a Mac application that allow users to create, apply and share beautifully designed themes. Classy Give your Mac a gorgeous new look by applying delicious themes! Easy Unleash your... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

My Very Hungry Caterpillar (Education)
My Very Hungry Caterpillar 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Care for your very own Very Hungry Caterpillar! My Very Hungry Caterpillar will captivate you as he crawls... | Read more »
Dungeon Dick (Games)
Dungeon Dick 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon Dick is a fantasy adventure where you must discover the wicked plot to destroy the lands . 'Fling' at your foes and land... | Read more »
Here’s How the Apple Watch Could Transfo...
With the Apple Watch’s generic release date of, “early 2015” hovering on the horizon, it’s only a matter of time before gamers begin to ask “What’s in it for us?” The obvious choice would be to place entire games directly on the face of the watch,... | Read more »
Republique Episode 3: Ones & Zeroes...
Republique Episode 3: Ones & Zeroes is Available Now Posted by Rob Rich on October 17th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Loot Raiders Review
Loot Raiders Review By Campbell Bird on October 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: PRESS BUTTON, GET LOOTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This menu-based loot game is suitable to compel those with pretty extreme loot lust.   | Read more »
Angry Birds are Crashing Puzzle & Dr...
Angry Birds are Crashing Puzzle & Dragons Next Week Posted by Rob Rich on October 17th, 2014 [ permalink ] Next week, Puzzle & Dragons is getting a little angry. Because, you know, Angry Birds. It’s a… a pun. I thought… never mind. | Read more »
Incandescence Review
Incandescence Review By Andrew Fisher on October 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ALL TAPPED OUTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Incandescence promises intense tapping action, but isn’t particularly fun.   | Read more »
Lion Pig (Games)
Lion Pig 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: "Leaving aside the biology of how a pig and a lion might meet, fall in love, and create this curious cross-breed, Lion Pig is a... | Read more »
Zero Lives (Games)
Zero Lives 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Zero Lives is a puzzle game. Simple and elegant at its core but deep and captivating the more you play. Each puzzle will challenge... | Read more »
#SUPERHYPER (Games)
#SUPERHYPER 001 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 001 (iTunes) Description: "This is a game that fans of challenging minimalist arcade games, not to mention pixel art, should keep an eye on" - Touch Arcade "... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Pay Available to Millions of Visa Cardh...
Visa Inc. brings secure, convenient payments to iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3as well as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Starting October 20th, eligible Visa cardholders in the U.S. will be able to use Apple Pay,... Read more
Textkraft Pocket – the missing TextEdit for i...
infovole GmbH has announced the release and immediate availability of Textkraft Pocket 1.0, a professional text editor and note taking app for Apple’s iPhone. In March 2014 rumors were all about... Read more
C Spire to offer iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3,...
C Spire on Friday announced that it will offer iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, both with Wi-Fi + Cellular, on its 4G+ LTE network in the coming weeks. C Spire will offer the new iPads with a range of... Read more
Belkin Announces Full Line of Keyboards and C...
Belkin International has unveiled a new lineup of keyboard cases and accessories for Apple’s newest iPads, featuring three QODE keyboards and a collection of thin, lightweight folios for both the... Read more
Verizon offers new iPad Air 2 preorders for $...
Verizon Wireless is accepting preorders for the new iPad Air 2, cellular models, for $100 off MSRP with a 2-year service agreement: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi + Cellular: $529.99 - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi... Read more
Price drops on refurbished Mac minis, now ava...
The Apple Store has dropped prices on Apple Certified Refurbished previous-generation Mac minis, with models now available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Refurbished 2013 MacBook Pros available for u...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (4GB RAM/... Read more
WaterField Designs Unveils Outback iPad Slip...
Fresh on the heels of Apple’s announcement Thursday, WaterField Designs unveils its new Outback Slip Case for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 — a custom-fitted case for the just-announced Apple iPads... Read more
Apple Introduces iPad Air 2 & iPad mini 3...
Apple on Thursday introduced iPad Air 2, slimmed down again to just 6.1 mm, and weighing less than a pound. iPad Air 2 also features an improved Retina display claimed to deliver enhanced contrast... Read more

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The Apple Store is a retail environment like no other - uniquely focused on delivering amazing customer experiences. As an Expert, you introduce people Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** As businesses discover the power of Apple computers and mobile devices, it's your job - as a Solutions Engineer - to show them how to introduce these Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…Summary** As a Specialist, you help create the energy and excitement around Apple products, providing the right solutions and getting products into customers' hands. You Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.