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

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Parallels Desktop 13.2.0 - Run Windows a...
Parallels allows you to run Windows and Mac applications side by side. Choose your view to make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and... Read more
jAlbum Pro 15.0 - Organize your digital...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. You can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly... Read more
iFinance 4.3.4 - Comprehensively manage...
iFinance allows you to keep track of your income and spending -- from your lunchbreak coffee to your new car -- in the most convenient and fastest way. Clearly arranged transaction lists of all your... Read more
VueScan 9.5.92 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Scrivener 3.0 - Project management and w...
Scrivener is a project management and writing tool for writers of all kinds that stays with you from that first unformed idea all the way through to the first - or even final - draft. Outline and... Read more
SuperDuper! 3.0.1 - Advanced disk clonin...
SuperDuper! is an advanced, yet easy to use disk copying program. It can, of course, make a straight copy, or "clone" -- useful when you want to move all your data from one machine to another, or do... Read more
jAlbum 15.0 - Create custom photo galler...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results - Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Scrivener 3.0 - Project management and w...
Scrivener is a project management and writing tool for writers of all kinds that stays with you from that first unformed idea all the way through to the first - or even final - draft. Outline and... Read more
SuperDuper! 3.0.1 - Advanced disk clonin...
SuperDuper! is an advanced, yet easy to use disk copying program. It can, of course, make a straight copy, or "clone" -- useful when you want to move all your data from one machine to another, or do... Read more
Parallels Desktop 13.2.0 - Run Windows a...
Parallels allows you to run Windows and Mac applications side by side. Choose your view to make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The mobile gamer's guide to Black F...
We're starting to catch wind of some exciting deals in the mobile gaming space for Black Friday. There are big discounts on mobile phones and accessories cropping up already, so you might want to get a move on things ahead of the big day. It's... | Read more »
The best pre-Black Friday deals - Novemb...
Black Friday will soon be upon us, but online retailers are already getting a headstart on the steep discounts. Don't wait until Friday—you'll find some pretty good deals all over the internet without waiting in lines or competing with other... | Read more »
Mighty Battles guide - how to build a so...
Mighty Battles, the latest title from Hothead Games, is set to take the App Store by storm. The game puts a welcome twist on lane battlers, adding FPS elements to spice things up a bit. You'll collect cards to put your own military unit to gether,... | Read more »
Rules of Survival guide - how to be the...
The PUBG craze makes its way to mobile, with more and more battle royale games debuting on iOS and Android. Rules of Survival joins the ranks of mobile PUBG-likes, offering a classic battle royale experiences that doesn't vary too much from its... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week -...
The weekend is upon us friends, and it's time to take a look back and reflect on all of the wonderful games we've played over the past few days. This week was jam packed with new releases. There were some big, long awaited launches, some fun... | Read more »
Lineage II: Revolution guide - tips and...
At long last, Lineage II: Revolution has now come to western shores, bring Netmarble's sweeping MMORPG to mobile devices. It's an addictive, epic experience, but some of the systems in the game can be a bit overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help... | Read more »
A Boy and His Blob (Games)
A Boy and His Blob 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Fight terrible monsters and collect epic...
Released on Western markets early last month, Dragon Project, created by Japanese developer COLOPL, brings epic monster hunting action to mobile for the very first time. Collect a huge array of weapons and armor, and join up with friends to fight... | Read more »
I Am The Hero (Games)
I Am The Hero 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: I Am The Hero is a pixel art, beat 'em up, fighting game that tells the story of a "Hero" with a glorious but mysterious past.... | Read more »
Kauldron (Music)
Kauldron 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Kauldron is our warmest sounding, punchiest synth yet! A completely new modeling technology, combined with carefully designed... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $180 with Apple Certified Refurbis...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: – 13″ 1.8GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air (... Read more
Black Friday deals on Apple Macs now live at...
Amazon has MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, MacBooks, and iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP for Black Friday week. Shipping is free. Note that stock of some Macs may come and go during the week, so... Read more
Black Friday pricing on Macs and iPads now av...
B&H Photo has lowered prices on many Macs, iPads, and iPad Pros as part of their Black Friday week sale. Save up to $200 on MacBooks and iMacs and up to $150 on iPads. B&H charges sales tax... Read more
Best Apple iPad deals this weekend, up to $80...
Apple resellers are offering 9.7″ iPads and 10.5″ iPad Pros for up to $80 off MSRP this weekend as part of their early Holiday and Black Friday sales: Adorama is offering new 2017 9.7″ 32GB WiFi... Read more
Early Black Friday sale: Apple iMacs for up t...
B&H Photo has 27-inch iMacs in stock and on sale for up $130-$150 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 27″ 3.8GHz iMac (MNED2LL/A): $2149 $150 off... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis starting...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished Mac minis starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP – 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Save on 12″ MacBooks, Apple refurbished model...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Early Holiday sale: 12″ iPad Pros for up to $...
B&H Photo has 12″ iPad Pros on sale today for up to $130 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H collects no sales tax outside NY & NJ: – 12″ 64GB WiFi iPad Pro: $749, save $50 – 12″ 256GB... Read more
Holiday sale prices on Apple 13″ MacBook Pros...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $100-$150 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro... Read more
Sale: 13″ MacBook Airs starting at $899, $100...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale today for $100 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100 off... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Product Manager - *Apple* Pay on the *Appl...
Job Summary Apple is looking for a talented product manager to drive the expansion of Apple Pay on the Apple Online Store. This position includes a unique Read more
*Apple* Pro/Consumer Apps Support Engineer -...
…exemplify AppleCare's expert technical support paired with exceptional customer service for Apple 's software apps. This person is a problem solver, who understands Read more
Partner Marketing Manager, *Apple* Pay - Ap...
Job Summary The Apple Pay partner marketing team is looking for a Marketing Manager to develop and drive US programs. The right candidate will be passionate about Read more
*Apple* Solution Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solution Consultant - Rochester, MN Job Number: 113037950 Rochester, MN, Minnesota, United States Posted: 19-Sep-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Are Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.