Apple patents involving digital audio input, video acquisition and more have appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Here’s a look at each of them.
Patent number 7,710,294 is for an externally clocked digital audio input, determining a valid clock and muting audio during synchronization. The present invention relates broadly to digital input in a computer device. Specifically, the present invention relates to clock synchronization in a device that supports digital audio input.
Methods and apparatus for determining the existence of an external clock over a digital input port on a computer. In one embodiment, the external clock is validated, and a lock is performed when the clock is valid. Whenever a loss of the lock is detected, and, if a re-lock is likely, the apparatus is muted so that audio artifacts that would otherwise be heard are minimized. The methods and apparatus also provide automatic re-locking to the external clock when a sampling rate change is detected. The inventors are Anthony Guetta, Raymond Montagne and Matthew Xavier.
Here’s Apple’s background and summary of the invention: “I2S, or Inter-IC Sound, or Integrated Interchip Sound, is an electrical serial bus interface standard used for connecting digital audio devices together. It is most commonly used to carry PCM information between the CD transport and the DAC in a CD player. The I2S bus separates clock and data signals, resulting in a very low jitter connection. Jitter can cause distortion in a digital-to-analog converter. The bus consists of at least three lines: a bit clock line, a word clock line (also called word select line) and at least one multiplexed data line.
Computers such as notebooks and other portable devices are gaining popularity among users for sound recording and playback, making I2S more popular among such devices. On some machines that support sound recording in the form of digital input, the digital input has been run off either a clock internal to the device, or off of the a clock derived from the external digital input signal itself. However, on these machines, there are often limitations of running off of an external clock only because the internal clock has been taken away and used for another requirement in the device.
“This creates the problem of dynamically determining the existence of a valid external clock, and whether or not the digital input hardware on the device can use the external clock. While hardware solutions for this problem can be implemented, such implementations add complexity and cost to devices and are less desirable than a software implementation.
“The present invention provides a method and apparatus for determining the existence of an external clock over a digital input port on a computer, and, if the external clock is valid, locking to it. A loss of the lock can also be detected, and, if a re-lock is likely, the computer system is muted so that audio artifacts that would otherwise be heard are minimized. The computer system of the present invention automatically re-locks to the external clock if the clock has changed, as in the case of a change in sampling rate.”
Patent number 7,711,200 is for video acquisition with integrated GUI processing. It involves systems and techniques for processing sequences of video images involve receiving, on a computer, data corresponding to a sequence of video images detected by an image sensor. The received data is processed using a graphics processor to adjust one or more visual characteristics of the video images corresponding to the received data. The received data can include video data defining pixel values and ancillary data relating to settings on the image sensor. The video data can be processed in accordance with ancillary data to adjust the visual characteristics, which can include filtering the images, blending images, and/or other processing operations. The inventors are Alexi V. Ouzilevski, Fernando Urbina, Brett Billbrey and Jay Zipnick.
Apple has also been granted patents (number 7,710,303) for its iPod clickwheel, for the Magic Mouse (number 7,710,303) , iPhoto (7,710,439)for the original iPhone design (D615,083), their iPhone Bluetooth headset (D615,070), the iPod shuffle (D615,069)