A new patent application by Apple just published by the USPTO (via AppleInsider) adds a feature to an iPhone that may not be as cool as an optical heart rate sensor, but could be just as (or more) life-saving: the new tech would use data from onboard s…
Apple has a new patent published by the USPTO today (via AppleInsider), and this one is a result of its deal to acquire Nortel’s considerable trove of intellectual property with the Rockstar consortium of tech companies. The patent describes a method for letting user listen in on, as well as interrupt and answer remotely hosted voicemail recordings. Essentially, this is what old landline… Read More
Just this week Samsung revealed the Galaxy S5. It’s water-resistant. Sony also announced the Xperia Z2, the waterproof successor to the also waterproof Z1. So where’s my waterproof iPhone? The technology and demand are here. Water-resistant or waterproof, Samsung and Sony’s latest flagships are waterproof enough that a drop in the toilet will not destroy the device. That’s… Read More
Apple has gained an entire percentage point of market share and cracked the top five smartphone manufacturers, according to the latest figures from research firm IDC. Apple’s share rose from 6 to 7 percent during the fourth quarter of last year, according to a new report (via WSJ) and though that isn’t a huge bump, it makes Apple the fifth-largest smartphone maker in China. There’s also reason to believe that Apple could climb higher still: These numbers don’t include any sales made through Apple’s partnership with China Mobile, which only began selling the iPhone on January 17, and is in the process of building out its new network to support the device across a wider swath of the population. Apple’s rise late last year might have something to do with the fact that the company opted to launch its latest iPhone models in the Greater China market simultaneously with its North American and major European market launches – this marks the first time it has done that, and likely helped boost overall iPhone sales by a considerable margin in the company’s fiscal holiday quarter. Apple also won a bigger chunk of a Chinese smartphone market that isn’t growing with nearly the speed it has in the past, so the China Mobile deal is even more significant, as it represents a way for Apple to grow its share in the key market without having to seek out new smartphone buyers. For Apple, the China Mobile deal represents a huge potential new buyer pool, and signs are good if the iPhone 5s and 5c are already helping drive up their share. But China’s own Xiaomi is nipping at its heels, coming in sixth overall among smartphone makers in the country per IDC, so that could make for a tight race between the two as the Android-based startup OEM continues to chart impressive growth at home.
iQi is a hardware add-on that brings the tech Apple hasn’t — wireless charging (using the Qi standard) — to your iPhone without the need to put it in a bulky case. But perhaps there’s a reason why Apple hasn’t.
Apple didn’t do a Super Bowl ad, as some had suggested it might, but today it debuted a video designed to capture the spotlight all its own. The spot, which is a little over a minute long, is shot entirely on iPhone devices during one 24 hour period, by 15 camera crews. It was then edited on Macs back in LA, paring down over 70 hours of video into the final spot you see above. The point? To demonstrate that you can do in one day using Apple’s iPhone devices what it once took months and millions of dollars’ worth of equipment to create. It also captures tons of people doing lots of creative things with Apple products, including building fully articulate robotic prosthetics controlled by an iPod touch, to a symphonic performance analyzed and monitored using an iMac. The spot was edited by Angus Wall, a Hollywood editor who worked on Fight Club, Zodiac, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network to name a few, and longtime Apple ad man Lee Clow served as creative director. Clow, who was behind the famous ’1984′ Super Bowl ad spot that borrowed themes from the dystopian sci-fi novel of the same name, tweeted this during last night’s game: Ok so it wasn’t a great Super Bowl. Tomorrow’s another day.— Lee Clow (@_clow) February 03, 2014 Apple may not have had a Super Bowl ad this year, but this post-game spot is arguably better, and definitely more in line with the company’s vision of itself as apart from the crowd.
Apple has filed a new patent (via AppleInsider) for supplementary tech that adds pressure sensitivity to its iOS devices, via special pressure sensors located around the corners of the device or otherwise hidden beneath the display. The tech described in the patent would allow for detection of gestures coming from beyond the touch-sensitive regions of the display, so you could have swipes recognized as coming from the bezel for instance. Other benefits would include the ability to better detect and discount thinks like a palm resting on the display, or a thumb that’s on-screen and yet just being used to support or hold a device, rather than as part of a touch input gesture. Already, Apple’s iOS displays are among the best when it comes to accidental touch detection, but this system would make that even better, which could potentially allow for further reduction of bezel size, for instance, or even making it possible to determine different kinds of input based not only on how many fingers are used, but on the force of the press. Bezel-based input gestures are another big possibility here. BlackBerry already used swipes in from the bezel to activate different actions in both the BlackBerry Playbook and its BB10 line of smartphone devices. Apple could implement similar actions based on this patent, or it could go even further and use the bezel itself as an input surface, to be used in tandem with on-screen cues in software while keeping the screen completely unobscured at the same time, the patent says. This isn’t he first we’ve heard of pressure sensitive screens from Apple: It filed a patent in November last year that described a similar system but with sensors that were placed beneath the screen and reacted to being actually pressed, rather than located in key areas and using triangulation and relative force detection to triangulate input. A Bloomberg report from November also suggested that Apple was working on improving touchscreen sensors by adding fine pressure sensitivity for introduction in devices beyond this year, so hopefully this new patent means Apple’s making progress on how to bring that to market without adding a lot of complexity to its existing internal device designs.
Apple is moving fast on securing intellectual property related to the making and usage of sapphire glass, filing another patent related to the material recently that has been published by the USPTO today (via AppleInsider). Previously we saw Apple file a patent for a method of attaching sapphire glass display windows to a device, and now its looking to insure that its method for manufacturing and shaping the material into forms usable in gadgets are legally protected. The patent is fairly technical, describing how sapphire can be grown, the collected and polished down into wafers, as well as treated with various coatings including oleophobic coatings (the kind used on the iPhone to prevent fingerprints) and ink masking (presumably to enable printing of logos and other elements on the sapphire). Sapphire is a difficult material to work with in terms of manufacturing electronics, since it’s hardness makes traditional methods of cutting and shaping it more challenging. Apple’s methods include using lasers to cut the sapphire into usable chunks, and it specifically mentions smartphone displays as one potential application. To get the material to where it needs to be for use in assembling phones and other devices, it describes a means by which it’s grown and then turned into cores which can be sliced into wafers. Those wafers can be sliced using lasers, which is both cleaner and faster than using machine grinding, which could be a clue into how Apple plans to make manufacturing sapphire components at scale cost-efficient. A new report from 9to5Mac says that Apple is keen on ramping up its sapphire manufacturing plant in Arizona, which it will be running with GT Advanced Technologies as part of a $578 million deal. The facility should be live by February, according to 9to5Mac, and it will aid in producing “a new sub-component of Apple products,” say documents obtained by the blog. An earlier report also said that Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn was already doing test production runs using sapphire glass screens in assembling iPhones. Apple gearing up for sapphire use on both the IP and the manufacturing front is a pretty safe sign that we’ll see this component feature prominently in future designs. In terms of timing, it’s likely that at this point we’ll have to wait until late this year before anything reaches consumers, but the wheels are turning, and the result could be much more durable devices. Photo