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Oct 04
Apple working on hybrid wireless headphones

A new Apple patent (number 20120250914) at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple is working on hybrid wireless headphones designed with athletes and very active folks in mind.

The described embodiments relate to a listening device that allows an end user to comfortably listen to an audio output of a portable media player. In particular, the listening device can be easily worn without inconveniencing the end user during physical activity.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "In one embodiment, a media apparatus is described. The media apparatus includes at least one listening device, a corded portion in communication with a host device arranged to provide an audio signal, and a detachable connector having a first part and a second part. In the described embodiment, the detachable connector is arranged to detachably couple the at least one listening device at the first part to the corded portion at the second part.

"When the listening...

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Oct 03
When will we be able to merge Apple iDs?

As noted by "TUAW" (www.tuaw.com) we're still not able to merge Apple IDs. Is it really that hard forApple to make this happen?

"TUAW" reader Glenn Thorpe nailed the problem when he wrote: ""My Apple ID account which I use to download apps cannot be used for FaceTime nor Messages. I had to create new AppleIDs for both of these applications. The frustrating issue is that I now have three AppleIDs to manage and I am not sure of what impact this will have when I buy apps or try to perform other transactions."

There were rumors last year that Apple was working on a solution. However, Apple's official word (http://support.apple.com/kb/HE37?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US) is still: "Apple IDs cannot be merged. You should use your preferred Apple ID from now on,...

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Oct 02
Apple working on streaming with compressed playlists

There are rumors that Apple is working on its own Internet radio/streaming music service. A new Apple patent (number 8280863) may add some weight to the rumor.

The patent is for real-time or near real-time streaming with compressed playlists. It involves methods and apparatuses that provide real-time or near real-time streaming of content using transfer protocols such as an HTTP compliant protocol. In one embodiment, a method includes providing a request for a playlist file (e.g. an updated playlist) and specifying a compression protocol with or for the request; the request can come from a client device which is requesting the playlist from a web server. The web server can provide the playlist in a compressed format.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Streaming of content generally refers to multimedia content that is constantly transmitted from a server device and received by a client device. The content is usually presented to an end-user while...

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Oct 02
Apple patent involves user interface for media...

Apple has filed a patent (number 8281244) with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for an user interface for media playback. It seems to involve potential changes to the iTunes interface.

The patent is for graphical user interface made up of icons representing individual files and collectively forming the shape of a spiral is described along with methods of using and creating the graphical user interface. The spiral interface is useful to display detailed information about many of the items in a list and facilitates manipulation of list order and selection of the active file in the list. The interface further permits the use of a representative icon associated with the list as a whole.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "Even as computer processors are becoming faster and programs more capable, space on computer displays continues to be limited. As programs become more complex there is a need to display more information in the same limited space.

...

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Oct 02
Some feature ideas for iOS Maps

Apple's much-maligned iOS Maps obviously needs work. Lots of it. Always glad to be of assistance to Apple, following is a list (thanks, in a great deal, to my pal, J. Scott Anderson) of improvements that could be made:

° A Mac App Store version for Mac OS X. It would let you make editing and correction suggestions right from your desktop/laptop.

° A "Map New Road" function. This is a mode you could turn on when driving so that you can map a road not currently on the Maps application.

° Social integration features How about live traffic reports and road hazard reports? Perhaps Maps could use Twitter/Facebook for the transport mechanism.

-- Dennis Sellers

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Oct 02
Apple awarded patent for wireless adapter

Apple has been awarded a patent (number 8280465) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a wireless adapter for interfacing between an accessory and a device. It seems to involve an adapter for the Lightning port on the iPhone 5.

The invention involves circuits, methods, and apparatus that provide compatibility among incompatible accessories and portable media players. One example provides an adapter having a connector receptacle to mate with an accessory's connector insert and a connector insert to mate with a portable media player's connector receptacle.

Another example provides an adapter having a direct connection between pins on the connector insert and pins on the connector receptacle that are used for compatible signals. Another example provides an adapter including a DC-to-DC converter that receives a first power supply from an accessory and provides a second power supply to a portable media player. Another translates signals using different signaling...

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Oct 02
Apple wins patent for the Mighty Mouse

Apple has been granted a patent (number 8279175) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a mouse with embedded touch sensors -- in other words, the Mighty Mouse.

Per the patent, the mouse is configured with touch sensing areas capable of generating input signals. The touch sensing areas may for example be used to differentiate between left and right clicks in a single button mouse. The mouse may further be configured with force sensing areas capable of generating input signals.

The force sensing areas may for example be positioned on the sides of the mouse so that squeezing the mouse generates input signals. The mouse may further be configured with a jog ball capable of generating input signals. The mouse may additionally be configured with a speaker for providing audio feedback when the various input devices are activated by a user.

The inventors are Christoph Horst Krah, Jeffrey B. Doar, Sean Corbin, Shin Nishibori and Wing Kong Low.

Apple has...

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Oct 01
The Northern Spy: The Pros and the Cats

By Rick Sutcliffe

More on the 15-inch Retina display MacBook Pro

The Spy has had this machine a month now, and experience confirms his first impressions. The machine is computationally fast, though not spectacularly so. Having an SSD for a drive makes more of a difference than any internal changes. The display is crisp, better than anything he's had in a portable before, and the glossy finish not nearly as annoying as such once were, but the improvements are not as revolutionary as some have gushed.

Having no Firewire or ethernet connection and being required to use Thunderbolt adapters for both is a major annoyance, and the Spy regards this as a bad decision. A little extra thickness at the back to allow both would not have sacrificed much by way of design, and would have been far more user friendly. The adapters do work, but being tied to Apple for cable purchases is a second annoyance. Competition would be better, and Apple...

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Oct 01
Regarding privacy, U.S. consumers reveal surprising...

Research findings from LoyaltyOne show that when it comes to privacy, U.S. consumers are still protecting some of their personal information as much as they do their Social Security number.

Of the 1,000 U.S. consumers responding to an online survey, 50% said they’d be willing to give a trusted company their religious affiliation, 49% their political affiliation, 49% their sexual orientation, 36% health information, 26% mental health information, 24% browsing history and 15% for both smart phone location and number of sexual partners. Last on the list is their Social Security number at 11%.

Toronto-based LoyaltyOne, a global provider of coalition loyalty, customer analytics and loyalty services, completed online surveys in July 2012 with 1,000 American respondents. The research is designed to test consumer attitudes about personal data collection and use by marketers.

Several of the 2012 questions followed up on a 2011 survey and were structured to measure...

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Sep 29
AirPlay Mirroring a killer feature in Mountain Lion

Instead of the ill-fated "Mac Genius" ads that debuted during the Olympics, then vanished into the void, perhaps Apple should do a TV spot promoting AirPlay Mirroring in Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. It could be a very attractive feature for a lot of folks.

According to a study by Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) 26% of all U.S. broadband households still connect a computer to their TV to enjoy locally stored or online content that's only accessible through their desktop or laptop. Mountain Lion makes this a breeze to do.

Its AirPlay Mirroring feature lets you send what’s on your Mac screen to an HDTV wirelessly with an Apple TV. Mirroring is great for classrooms, conference rooms, and your living room. For example, I have almost all my DVD collection ripped to a 4TB external hard drive. If I want to start a movie on my Mac, I can, then zap it over to the large screen HD in the...

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Sep 28
Greg's Bite: is Apple a patent bully?

By Greg Mills

Recent interviews with Google executives have pandered to the notion that Apple is doing something inherently evil asserting patent rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. Without the ability to gain an advantage over competitors in making a profit from new ideas, innovation will not be sustainable.  

Rather than being a "patent bully," Apple has led the flock in the electronics segment for so long, somehow the followers have come to think stealing Apple's best ideas are in the public interest. That is nuts. It is in the interest of the companies that waste billions of dollars on R&D or have management that can't see the future when they hold it in their hands.  

Samsung struck a similar note when they said that Apple wanted to limit innovation. The opposite is actually true. Innovation costs money -- lots of money -- and there are ideas that copycats like Samsung don't have the right to steal. 

Research and...

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Sep 28
AirPlay Mirroring a killer feature in Mountain Lion

Instead of the ill-fated "Mac Genius" ads that debuted during the Olympics, then vanished into the void, perhaps Apple should do a TV spot promoting AirPlay Mirroring in Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. It could be a very attractive feature for a lot of folks.

According to a study by Parks Associates (www.parksassociates.com) 26% of all U.S. broadband households still connect a computer to their TV to enjoy locally stored or online content that's only accessible through their desktop or laptop. Mountain Lion makes this a breeze to do.

Its AirPlay Mirroring feature lets you send what’s on your Mac screen to an HDTV wirelessly with an Apple TV. Mirroring is great for classrooms, conference rooms, and your living room. For example, I have almost all my DVD collection ripped to a 4TB external hard drive. If I want to start a movie on my Mac, I can, then zap it over to the large screen HD in the...

| Read more »
Sep 27
Apple files patent for image capture, manipulation

An Apple patent (number 20120243748) has been filed for systems, methods and program products for image capture and manipulation, especially in regards to video chats and calls.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Many software applications now accept image data including animated icons such as head shots to identify, for example, the sender of an electronic mail message, an Internet chat buddy, or to identify a caller on a voice-over-IP communication link. Novice computer users may not know how to associate their picture with these applications.

"Furthermore, a user may wish to modify their picture before using it. While many software packages provide very sophisticated tools for image editing, novice users can find these packages too cumbersome, especially if the user wants to quickly experiment with different effects.

"In general, one aspect of the subject matter described in this specification can be embodied in a method that includes...

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Sep 27
Apple patent involves accessory dependent display...

Apple has filed a patent (number 20120242701) for "accessory dependent display orientation" with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Systems and methods are provided for orienting a display of a user device display screen.

A user device may be coupled to an accessory, and the display orientation of the user device may be managed. The display orientation may be determined based on a type of the accessory, accessory identification information, a supported communications protocol, output of an accelerometer, user information, or other information. Criteria may be stored, from which a criterion for orienting the display may be selected based on available information.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "A user device such as a smart phone or personal media player may be coupled to an accessory, which may allow for communication, charging, or both between the user device and the accessory. For example, a mobile phone may be charged by plugging a...

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Sep 27
Apple files patent for a 'device foot'

Apple has filed a patent (number 20120243153) for a "device foot" with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. A moveable device foot for an electronic device is described, such as that on the Magic Trackpad.

The device foot can include a rigid weight bearing member and a flexible sealing member that is integrally formed with the weight bearing member. The device foot can be formed using a double-shot injection molding process. The weight bearing member of the foot can be mounted to an interior portion of the electronic device such that it extends through an external casing of the electronic device.

The flexible sealing member can be mounted to the external casing to seal the interior of the electronic device. During operation of the electronic device, the device foot can be configured to move relative to the external casing, such as in response to an external force applied to the electronic device.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "Most consumer...

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Sep 27
Apple eyeing electronic devices with flexible displays

An Apple patent (number 2012042592 for an electronic device with flexible displays has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. We may be looking at future iPhones and iPads -- perhaps even Macs -- with "bendable" screens and tactile keyboards.

Per the patent electronic devices may be provided that contain flexible displays and internal components. An internal component may be positioned under the flexible display. The internal component may be an output device such as a speaker that transmits sound through the flexible display or an actuator that deforms the display in a way that is sensed by a user.

The internal component may also be a microphone or pressure sensor that receives sound or pressure information through the flexible display. Structural components may be used to permanently or temporarily deform the flexible display to provide tactile feedback to a user of the device.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "This...

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Sep 27
HDTV market to surge more Than 10% in 2013

If Apple really is planning its own HDTV (the rumored "iTV") for late this year or early 2013, it's timing may be impeccable. The HDTV market will surge more than 10% next year, according to Global Information Inc. (www.giresearch.com).

During much of the first half of 2012, revenue from the LCD HD television segment -- the most widespread HDTV technology in the world -- remained poor. While some of this could be blamed on weaker than expected consumer demand and over-saturation, the primary problem for LCD manufacturers has been the rise of ultra-low cost production in places such as China, which has undercut already meager margins on LCD screens.

What's more, falling costs on alternate technologies including LED, OLED, and 3D TVs, is also leading some consumers away. In fact, with the exceptions of Samsung and LG, which benefit from a more competitive pricing model, every other supplier, including...

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Sep 27
Apple working on inductive charging mat

A new patent (number 2012024673) at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple is working on an inductive charging mat for its iOS devices. The patent is for device-orientation based docking functions.

Systems and method are provided for selecting one or more docking functions based on a physical orientation of a user device coupled to a docking device. The docking device may include a surface upon which the user device may be placed. Docking functions such as charging, data transfer, data synchronization, diagnostic checking, or other functions may be selected, performed, or both, based on the physical orientation of the user device on the surface.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "A user device such as a smart phone, digital camera, or personal media player may be docked to a docking device, which may allow for charging and data transmittal. Some docking devices may provide induction charging to charge a user device, when the...

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Sep 27
Apple seeks patent for Siri personal assistant

Apple has filed for a patent for an "Intelligent Automated Assistant" (patent WO 2011/088053 A2) with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It involves its Siri technology.

Per the patent, an intelligent automated assistant system engages with the user in an integrated, conversational manner using natural language dialog, and invokes external services when appropriate to obtain information or perform various actions. The system can be implemented using any of a number of different platforms, such as the web, email, smartphone, and the like, or any combination thereof. In one embodiment, the system is based on sets of interrelated domains and tasks, and employs additional functionally powered by external services with which the system can interact.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "Today's electronic devices are able to access a large, growing, and diverse quantity of functions, services, and information, both via the Internet and from other sources....

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Sep 26
Why can't Siri check my call history?

I think that Apple has done a solid job of upgrading Siri in iOS 6. But there are still improvements that can be made.

For example, why can't Siri check my call history? I say: "Siri, have I missed any calls?" Siri says: "Sorry, I cannot check call history."

Missed calls shows up in my alerts, so why can't my "personal assistant" check that for me? Seems like this would be a very handy feature for Apple to roll into the next Siri update....

-- Dennis Sellers

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Sep 25
Apple patent is for smart dock for chaining...

An Apple patent (number 8,275,924) has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a smart dock for chaining accessories.

Per the patent, a system for communicating between an accessory and an electronic device includes a first interface, a second interface, and a docking station. The first interface is configured to communicate with the electronic device. The second interface is configured to communicate with the accessory. The docking station is coupled to the first interface and the second interface. The docking station is configured to receive a set of preferences from the accessory and forward the set of preferences to the electronic device.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "The present invention relates generally to media players, and more particularly, to docking stations for daisy chaining accessories for the media players.

"Electronic devices, such as portable media players, cellular phones, personal digital assists (PDAs), and...

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Sep 25
Apple working on radially-based chroma noise reduction...

Apple is working on ways to further improve photo taking on its iOS devices, per a patent (number 8274583) at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It's for radially-based chroma noise reduction for cameras.

Per the patent, a system, apparatus, computer readable medium, and method for radially-dependent noise reduction in image capturing devices involving an edge-preserving blur window are disclosed. In one embodiment, the edge-preserving blur includes only those pixels in the blur window that are within a threshold value of the blur window's current center pixel in its blurring calculation.

By creating a threshold function that varies radially from the center of the image sensor's light intensity falloff function, a more appropriate threshold value can be chosen for each pixel, allowing for more noise farther from the center of the image, and allowing for less noise closer to the center of the image. Light-product information taken from the image's metadata may...

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Sep 25
Apple takes the Microsoft approach with iOS 6 Maps

It's a darn shame that a company that claims to be more interested in making quality products than in making money did such a miserable job on the roll-out of the Maps app in iOS 6.

The Maps app has been roundly trashed by users and customers. It's been criticized for missing cities, botched search results and a plethora of geographic errors. Apple's excuse: "Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get."

Ah yes, the Microsoft ("it's good enough") approach. Is this Apple's new direction? If so, Cook and company need to seriously re-evaluate things.

It would actually be good for Apple in the long run if the Maps fiasco caused a major consumer backlash (not likely) and skimmed a little arrogance off the company's attitude.

-- Dennis Sellers

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Sep 25
Apple wins patent for in-plane switching

Apple has won patent (number 8274492) from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for integrated in-plane switching.

This relates to adding multi-touch functionality to a display without the need of a separate multi-touch panel or layer overlaying the display. Instead, embodiments of the invention can advantageously utilize existing display circuitry to provide multi-touch functionality while adding relatively little circuitry that is specific to the multi-touch functionality.

Thus, by sharing circuitry for the display and the multi-touch functionalities, embodiments of the invention can be implemented at a lower cost than the alternative of superimposing additional multi-touch related layers onto an existing display panel. Furthermore, since the display and multi-touch functionality can be implemented on the same circuit, they can be synchronized so that noise resulting from the display functionality does not detrimentally affect the multi-touch functionality and...

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Sep 25
Apple eyes keyboard management for a multifunction...

An Apple patent (number 8274536) for smart keyboard management for a multifunction device with a touch screen display has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Per the patent, a method is performed at a multifunction device with a touch screen display. The method includes displaying a text entry interface with a soft keyboard in a first area and a viewing area with a first size to display scrollable information. The method detects a finger gesture on the viewing area, and responds to the gesture.

When the viewing area displays only a portion of the information, the response includes: (1) ceasing to display the soft keyboard, (2) expanding the viewing area to a second size, including at least some of the first area, and (3) scrolling the information in the expanded viewing area. When the viewing area with the first size displays all of the information, the response includes: (1) maintaining display of the soft keyboard, (2) keeping the viewing area at...

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Sep 25
Apple granted patent for gimballed scroll wheel

Apple has been granted a patent (number 8274479) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a gimballed scroll wheel. An input device that includes both a movement detector, such as mechanical switch, and positional indicator, such as touch pad touch screen, and/or touch sensing housing is disclosed.

These two input devices can be used substantially simultaneously to provide a command to the device. In this manner, different commands can be associated with depressing a moveable member in different areas and a single moveable member can perform like several buttons.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Several kinds of input devices are known for performing operations in a computing device. Some examples of input devices include buttons, switches, keyboards, mice, trackballs, touch pads, joy sticks, touch screens and the like. Each of these devices has advantages and disadvantages that may be taken into account when designing an input apparatus...

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Sep 24
Greg's Bite: iPhone 5 & iOS 6 issues

By Greg Mills

Whenever Apple drops its latest technological nuke on the floundering electronics sector, the usual pundits find something to whine about. For the iPhone 4 it was the antenna death grip for the iPhone 4s it didn't have enough killer new features.  

For the iPhone 5, the improvements didn't grab you by the lapel and shake you enough and besides, Steve Jobs wasn't there to sell it. Never mind the iPhone 5 hadn't even been released yet when the whining started.

The court jester of the tech world, John C Dvorak, began finding fault with the iPhone 5 clear back in June. Now that it is actually out, something compelling to complain about is certain to come out. Praise for anything Apple comes dear to readers of Dvorak's patter. If John hates it, Apple will sell millions of the product.  The data is thin about how Apple product will fare that Dvorak likes it, since I can't think of anything he liked until much later when he got to try it...

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Sep 24
Demand for mobile services in air travel hits new high

Demand for mobile services in air travel has reached an all-time high. FlightView (www.flightview.com), a provider of day-of-travel information, has released two new research reports -- specific to airports and airlines -- with feedback from more than 2,600 business and leisure travelers revealing incredibly high expectations for mobile communication and self-service capabilities. This presents airports and airlines with a major opportunity to generate ancillary revenue and strengthen customer service.

"We’ve seen a fundamental change in the way people travel, with a rapidly increasing dependence on mobile devices," says Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView. "That means airports and airlines need to move beyond showing static information on mobile apps and websites to pushing relevant, timely updates and offering key functionality for informing and empowering their customers to make better decisions on the go."...

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Sep 21
Tablets drive customer satisfaction with traditional...

According to a new report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)l the personal computer division in the Index rated an all time score of 80 out of 100. Could it be due to the fact that more folks are buying Macs? Perhaps. But the iPad also plays a part.

As the personal computer market continues to undergo its transformation toward smaller, more mobile computing and away from stationary desktop solutions, customer satisfaction with the personal computer industry as a whole gains further traction -- up 2.6% to an all-time high ACSI score of 80.

The improvement over the past year blasts away the industry’s former high point of 78 that was earned in both 2010 and 2011. ACSI measurement of the industry includes customer satisfaction with all types of personal computers: desktops, laptops and tablets.

"The recent stall in demand for desktop computers comes in conjunction with a surge of interest in small, mobile computers; in particular, devices that are...

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Sep 20
Apple granted patent for dual-sided trackpad

Apple has been granted a patent (number 20120235949) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a dual-sided trackpad.

A system including a capacitive array element capable of sensing touch from either side is described. A connected processor unit, either in the device or the host system, may be adapted to interpret signals from the capacitive array element as a cursor or view movement with six degrees of freedom.

The track pad device may include a display element and the capacitive array element may be translucent. The display element and the array element may be configured with respect to each other, where different configurations can be associated with different operating modes. For example, when the array element lies over the display screen so that the display screen is viewable through the array element, the array element can function as a touch screen. In another configuration, the array element may generate signals indicating a user's touch from one or the...

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Sep 20
Ice Screen? Why not an iMac TV?

Ice Screen, the upcoming 26-inch Android-based, tablet, smart display from China's TCL, "looks like the kind of TV a younger generation would appreciate," says "CNNMoney." Maybe I'm missing something, but ... a 26-inch tablet? If the young folk want a TV they can interact with, perhaps Apple should give them an iMac with built-in television features.

"The [Ice Screen] is a 26-inch large display," says Hao Yi, general manager of TCL Multimedia Emerging Market Business Center. "It is not just for TV, as the younger generation doesn't watch TV like the older generation."

The Ice Screen -- photo courtesy of "endgadget" (www.endgadget.com) -- has options for music downloads and Internet applications. It boasts a 1366 x 768 resolution. However, it still requires a connection to a cloud service, or else it's just a screen without a tuner. In that case, most folks might prefer what I'll call the iMac TV, which I...

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Sep 20
Apple files patent for e-book reading location...

An Apple patent (number 20120240036) for an e-book reading location indicator has popped up at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

To help a reader of an electronic document, e.g., an eBook, find his or her reading location following a repagination event, an electronic reader application executing on an electronic device displays a first portion of content of the electronic document, detects that the reader has performed a predetermined action that triggers repagination of the electronic document, and repaginating the electronic document to cause the reader application to display a second portion of content of the electronic document, the second portion including at least some of the first portion of content and at least some newly visible content of the electronic document, such that the newly visible content appears visually different, at least temporarily, from the first portion of content that remains visible.

Here's Apple's background on the patent: "Much...

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Sep 20
Apple patent is for messaging system, service

An Apple patent (patent number 20120238299) for a messaging system and service has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It involves a method of modifying a data message during transmission through a data communications network, the data communications network being arranged to deliver messages under control of a network operator and including a first store-and-forward network node.

The first store-and-forward network node is arranged to store data messages and forward the same to a recipient in dependence on status data corresponding to a terminal associated therewith. The method further includes receiving a message at a second store-and-forward node, wherein the second store-and-forward node is different from the first store-and-forward network node, arranging for the message to be modified before being forwarded from the second store-and forward node, and transmitting the message to the first store-and-forward network node for forwarding to the recipient....

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Sep 20
Future iOS devices may recognize your mug

An Apple patent (number 20120235790) to lock and unlock iOS devices via facial recognition has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

In an embodiment of the invention, an unlocked mobile device is configured to capture images, analyze the images to detect a user's face, and automatically lock the device in response to determining that a user's face does not appear in the images. The camera capturing and face recognition processing may be triggered by the device having detected that it has been motionless for a threshold period of time.

In another embodiment, a locked mobile device is configured to capture an initial image using its camera, capture a new image in response to detecting movement of the device, determine that the device moved to a use position, capture a subsequent image in response to determining that the device moved to a use position, analyze the subsequent image to detect a user's face, and unlock the device in response to detecting...

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Sep 20
Apple wants to shake things up with iOS device...

According to a new Apple patent (number 20120235510) at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Apple wants to shake things up on its iOS devices. Literally.

The patent, for harnessing power through electronic induction utilizing printed coils, would let you shake an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to re-charge 'em. Per the patent, a system can include one or more moveable magnets adjacent to printed coils on a circuit. For example, a system can include one or more magnets that are operative to move alongside a circuit board that includes printed coils.

The one or more magnets may move, for example, when a user shakes the system or when the user walks or runs while holding the device. The movement of the one or more magnets may create an electromotive force (e.g., a voltage) across the printed coils, and this force may be used to generate electric power.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "Traditional systems for harnessing power through electromagnetic...

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Sep 19
Enough of this talk about Apple losing its mojo

Enough is enough. I'm tired of all the talk that Apple has lost its mojo.

No doubt you've heard lots of such talk lately. It goes like this: "The iPhone 5 was just what was expected, nothing more and was a disappointment" "The iPhone 5 media event was nothing compared with a Steve Jobs media event."

Let's look at reality. Is the iPhone 5 a "disappointment"? Well, if you call selling out of pre-orders within 24 hours after being announced, I guess that's a disappointment. If you call the placement of two million iPhone orders within 24 hours (more than double the previous record of one million by the iPhone 4S) disappointing, then I guess it's a disappointment. If you call the unveiling of new, long overdue earbuds and a chip that may be a unique Apple design disappointing, then I guess it's a disappointment.

However, in the real world, the launch of the iPhone 5 is anything but a disappointment. It's a smash hit.

As to the assertion that the iPhone 5...

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Sep 18
Apple patent is for dual-band antenna on a desktop...

Apple has been granted a patent (number 8269677) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a dual-band cavity backed antenna for an integrated desktop computer -- in other words, the iMac.

Per the patent, an electronic device may have a housing with conductive housing walls. A dielectric antenna window may be formed in an opening in one of the conductive housing walls. A dielectric logo may form the dielectric antenna window. A dielectric support structure may have an outline that matches the dielectric logo. An antenna resonating element for an antenna may be formed on the dielectric support structure.

An antenna cavity for the antenna may be formed by a conductive cavity structure. A pattern of voids in the dielectric support structure may reduce dielectric loading for the antenna. The conductive cavity structure may be formed from solderable plated metal. The conductive cavity structure may have a planar lip that is attached to the conductive housing walls...

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Sep 18
One-third of Americans would buy iPhone 5

It's already well known that the latest Apple smartphone is a big hit. Preorders at the Apple online store sold out within an hour of the iPhone 5 going on sale.

Within 24 hours of Apple CEO Tim Cook's unveiling of the iPhone 5, Toluna QuickSurveys (www.Toluna.com) undertook the first large scale consumer reaction to the launch. Overwhelmingly, the survey of 2000 Americans found consumers reacted positively to the announcement with half of consumers saying they were extremely satisfied with the features unveiled.

In particular, 58% were impressed by the new look, with consumers between the ages of 18-34 (61%) slightly more impressed than consumers over 35 (55%). Other findings included:

° Extended battery life was the favorite element of the new phone followed by the enhanced processing power and speed.

° People who already own an iPhone are more likely to upgrade to the iPhone 5 with 76% saying...

| Read more »
Sep 17
Greg's Bite: Google news and censorship of the Web

By Greg Mills

Americans are being killed in distant places around the world, in effect, due to policies Google reckons to be protective of freedom of expression on the web. In theory, a strict policy of letting content stand makes sense and protects us from highhanded authoritative governments. There are limits to any theory, which, when taken to an extreme, begin to fade in the light of day.

Such light ought to be dawning in Mountain View, about now. Years of work by our State Department to appear even-handed in the Arab sphere of influence is being swiftly undone by access to a fourth rate movie about Mohammad, content that Google insists needs to stay posted on the web. This to satisfy the web's "freedom of the wild west" mentality that also screams of anarchy.  Anarchy might be the opposite of repressiveness, but at the end of the day, is it any better? To much law or too little law. See http://www.debka.com/article/22358/Post-Arab-Spring-%...

| Read more »
Sep 17
Study: wireless customers using 4G LTE experience...

The iPhone 5 incorporates 4G LTE technology. According to a new study that's a good thing.

Wireless customers who use 4G LTE-enabled devices experience fewer data-related issues, especially with slow connection speeds, than do customers who use 3G and other 4G-enabled devices, according to the J.D. Power and Associates' "2012 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance StudySM --Volume 2." The semiannual study evaluates wireless customers' most recent usage activities in three areas that impact network performance: calling, messaging and data. Overall network performance is based on 10 problem areas that affect the customer experience (in order of importance): dropped calls; calls not connected; audio issues; failed/late voicemails; lost calls; text transmission failures; late text message notifications; Web connection errors; email connection errors; and slow downloads.

Network performance issues are measured as problems per 100 (PP100) network connections, with a...

| Read more »
Sep 17
Are books doomed to extinction?


Author Michael Levin says he can see the writing on the iPad.

"Unless something changes, books as we know them are doomed, and not simply because people prefer to read on their iPads or Kindles" says Levin, (www.BusinessGhost.com), a "New York Times" best-selling author, as well as editor, publisher, co-writer and ghostwriter. "You’ll see the major publishing houses starting to go away in three to five years. Their business model is in free fall. Already, we’re seeing books becoming shorter, cheaper, and diminishing in quality. You’ll soon see fewer really good authors bothering to write books, because books are no longer a meaningful source of revenue."

Levin points to several developments he says foreshadow a sad ending for books:

° Attention spans are diminishing. Three-fourths of teachers said their students’ attention spans are shorter than ever, according to a poll released in June....

| Read more »
Sep 14
People are using TV differently -- which could be good...

Rumors say that complicated licensing deals with uncooperative film/TV studios and satellite/cable providers are delaying the rumored Apple-branded HDTV (the "iTV") as well as a cable-ready Apple TV (http://macte.ch/W0PHd). If and when such deals are hammered out, Apple could be in a great position as far as "capturing the living room" is concerned.

According to an "Associated Press" report (macte.ch/mbyw0), the number of U.S. homes that don't get traditional television service continues to increase, but that doesn't mean they don't have TVs. The Nielsen company says in a recent report that three-quarters of the estimated five million U.S. homes that don't get TV signals over the airways or through cable, satellite or telecommunications companies still have TV sets.

Many of these homes are satisfied to use their TVs for games or get programming through DVDs or services like Netflix or Apple TV,...

| Read more »
Sep 14
One take on the iPhone 5 hype

By Hathem Brand

It's mid-September, and for techheads that can only mean one thing: The iPhone 5 is now up for grabs on store shelves. In retrospect, have the cynics (and conversely, the promoters) been proven right? Did the iPhone 5 really deserve the waves of hype it made on the tech front?

Let's go over some of the most prominent promises made and kept.

The A6 chip

Before the release, reports of the iPhone5 incorporating the much hyped quad-core A6 chip were rampant. This, however, seemed to have been fueled by camps from both sides of the fence.

If you'll remember, the excitement over the previously released A5X chip had been quickly silenced by cries of supposed foul play, mainly directed at the chip not turning out to be truly quad-core. While more a marketing "snafu" than anything else (the chip only had a dual-core CPU, although its GPU was quad-core), it nevertheless incensed a lot of consumers who...

| Read more »
Sep 13
Apple beefing up cursor transition features on the Mac

An Apple patent (number 201202237) shows that Apple is working on ways for cursors in Mac OS X to more easily transition based on where it's located on screen and what activity is underway at the time.

Responsive to a trigger event, a first cursor state having a first visual appearance is transitioned into a second cursor state having a second visual appearance. A transition type and transition time can be specified so that the transition can be visually perceived by a user. The cursor states can be associated with different cursor types and/or cursor schemes.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "A cursor is a moving placement or pointer that indicates a position on a display. Some computer operating systems use multiple cursor types. For example, an arrow cursor may be used in one application and a crosshair or text cursor may be used in another application. Different cursor types can help a user interact with an operating system and applications...

| Read more »
Sep 13
Apple patent involves managing user interface control...

An Apple patent (number 20120233569) for managing user interface control panels on the Mac has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Per the patent, a computer-implemented method includes displaying a user interface on a display device, the user interface displaying a content item, in response to receiving input, displaying a user interface control panel including a user interface control, the user interface control configured to enable modifying one or more attributes of the content item, and in response to detecting a first selection of the user interface control, displaying a portion of the user interface control panel and hiding a portion of the user interface control panel, the displayed portion of the user interface control panel including the user interface control.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Software applications can edit content items such as images, video, audio, documents, and the like. Content items, such as...

| Read more »
Sep 13
Apple files patent video stabilization feature

Apple has filed a patent (number 2012022970) with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for "zoom indication for stabilizing unstable video clips." It involves the improved stabilization feature found on the iPhone 5 and latest iPod touch, as well as its various video editing applications.

A computer-implemented method for zoom indication for stabilizing unstable video clips is described. To indicate zoom, a zoom value associated with an unstable segment of a video clip is received. The zoom value represents a value by which frames of the video clip in the unstable segment need to be zoomed to stabilize the unstable segment. An indicia is displayed representing the zoom value in a thumbnail in a user interface. The thumbnail represents the video clip. The indicia displayed over a region in the thumbnail corresponding to the unstable segment in the video clip.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "Digital video clips can be recorded using digital video cameras...

| Read more »
Sep 13
Some thoughts on yesterday's Apple media event...

Yesterday's Apple media event held no major surprises. The iPhone 5, a new iTunes, a new iPod touch and a new iPod nano were revealed -- as everyone expected. There was no iPad mini, 13-inch Retina display MacBook Pro or updated iMac announcements. But they're coming.

With that in mind, here are some random thoughts that occurred to me during the media event:

° No "one more thing." Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't try to emulate Steve Jobs' famous routine of saving the biggest news of all for the end of the event, a la a "one more thing" announcement. In fact, Cook and the gang did the opposite. They started with the biggest news (the iPhone 5) and saved the least earth-shaking news (new iPods) for last. That's less dramatic, but Cook is smart enough not to copy Jobs' act.

° Naming schemes. Okay, the newest iPad is the "new iPad," the newest version of iTunes is the "new iTunes" the latest iPod touch is the "new iPod touch," the reinvented iPod nano is the "new iPad...

| Read more »
Sep 13
Apple patent is for microphone proximity

Apple has filed a patent (number 20120231778) for microphone proximity detection that may relate to the new beam-forming, directional microphone system in the iPhone 5.

A mobile communications device contains at least two microphones. One microphone is located away from the handset receiver and serves to pick up voice of a near end user of the device for transmission to the other party during a call. Another microphone is located near the handset receiver and serves to pick up acoustic output of the handset receiver (a far end signal).

A signal processor measures the frequency response of the receiver. The signal processor performs spectral analysis of the receiver frequency response to determine whether or not the device is being held at the ear of the user. On that basis, the device automatically changes its operating mode, e.g., turns on or off a touch sensitive display screen during the call. Other embodiments are also described.

Here's Apple's background...

| Read more »
Sep 12
What to expect at today's Apple media event

Today at 10 am (Pacific) Apple will hold a special media event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The invite sent to the media says simply that, "It's almost here." Here's what I see being announced:

The next gen iPhone, of course, is a no-brainer. The only shock will be if Apple doesn't announce a new version of its smartphone. I've long doubted that it would be dubbed the "iPhone 5," but now it seems obvious that it will be. Why? Look carefully at the graphic from the media invitation ...

The iPhone 5 will sport a slimmer form factor wrapped around a 4-inch Retina display; that's up from the iPhone 4S’s current 3.5-inch offering. It will pack iOS 6, a quad-core A6 processor and a 9-pin dock connector that -- for better or worse -- replaces the current 30-pin standard. I also expect the iPhone 5 to support compatibility with LTE networks in the U.S., Europe and Asia. I'm not anticipating it, but I'd love to see an iPhone with...

| Read more »
Sep 11
Apple wants to help you create, manage voicemail...

An Apple patent (number 8265450) for the creation and management of voicemail greetings for mobile communication devices has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Per the patent, a user of a mobile communication device can create and manage multiple voicemail greetings. In one aspect, a user of a mobile communication device can create customized voicemails. The customized voicemails can be assigned to specific contacts (or groups of contacts) known to the mobile communication device. The customized voicemail greetings can also have controlled expiration dates. In another aspect, customized voicemails can be assigned to incoming calls in real-time.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "Today, wireless service providers provide voicemail services to their wireless subscribers using mobile phones. When a caller to a mobile phone is directed to voicemail, the user receives whatever voicemail greeting has been configured for the particular mobile phone....

| Read more »
 
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