Your next iGadget? Check Apple patents (images)

Your next iGadget? Check Apple patents (images)

Summary: While Apple is shrouded in secrecy over its upcoming devices, there's one place that can give clues: The US Patent and Trademark Office.


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  • (Image: US Patent and Trademark Office)

    Wraparound iPhone

    What is Apple's next great feature or device? You can waterboard Apple execs and they won't tell. We know that Apple is doing something exciting behind the scenes with its research budget growing to $1.1 billion over the last three months. But there's one source of information that can give us some hints at what Apple is thinking: The US Patent and Trademark Office.

    Last year alone, Apple was awarded 1,136 patents — good for 22nd place on the top 50 IFI patent list. Other notables include Google, which was just ahead of Apple, with 1,151 patents. BM was the leader, as usual, with 6,478 patents, and Samsung took second place, with 5,081 patents.

    With its new and innovative products, Apple believe that it must protect them from competitors, such as Samsung, at all costs. That's why it keeps the patent office busy. Here, we'll look at a dozen recent awards that should give us an idea of what Apple is thinking.

    Perhaps the most interesting patent award recently earned by Apple was for a smartphone design that "could include a full wraparound display and have no buttons". Enclosed within "transparent housing", a flexible display panel would be configured to "display content at any portion of the gadget's frame", according to ZDNet's Charlie Osborne. Sounds like a next-generation iPhone.

  • (Image: US Patent and Trademark Office)


    Here's what we mean about Apple's patents giving a hint of the future: While news of Apple's rumored iWatch began to spread, ZDNet's Liam Tung looked up watches on Apple's list of patents and found one that was awarded in 2011 for a wearable "slap wrap" device with a flexible screen. Could it be "the next big thing"?

  • (Image: US Patent and Trademark Office)

    Solar touchscreen

    A patent was award to Apple in February for a solar touchscreen. This new patent has been associated with a potential watch, as it would provide a power source. In any event, it does sound cool and could be a huge boost for wearable computers.

    Here's how it was described in the patent application: "solar cell stack-ups may include electrodes that are used both for collecting solar energy and for sensing on a touch sensor array". Plus, it further says, "the integrated touch sensor and solar panel configurations may also be used for optical sensing".

Topic: Apple

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  • Apple? I thought they were "doomed"

    Or so we are being told by some ZDNet forum participants. And there's NO developer interest in iOS anymore. Absolutely none. Zilch. Zero. None whatsoever. Nobody's going to WWDC this year.
    • If you think Mario`s story is nice, , 1 week

      If you think Mario`s story is nice, , 1 week ago my mum's best friend basically also earnt $5998 sitting there a ninteen hour week in their apartment and their buddy's step-aunt`s neighbour has been doing this for six months and got a cheque for more than $5998 parttime from there labtop. use the guidelines from this address,, >>
    • :-)

      That's why the tickets were sold out in just 2 minutes. :-)
      Maria Davidenko
  • The title of this article should be...

    "Your next Android feature? Check Apple's patents."

    There are several half-baked features offered by many Android vendors (namely: Samesung) that Apple has been working on patents for over several years.

    Facial recognition and security features, the failed demo for Android that was rushed to market:

    Apple's patent application was published in 2009.

    Even though Apple has been working on this for quite some time, Android rushed it out. When Apple finally perfects it and starts offering it for iOS devices, the Android community will cry foul, saying Apple is copying Android, "again."

    Google Glass? Apple's been working on the concept since 2006.

    If/when Apple finally releases their version, the Android camp will cry foul again.
    • wow so interesting

      So wait just because Apple filed patents for certain technology before it was released on Android makes android the ones copying? You must be 5 layers of stupid to believe that. Do you really think that the Devs at Google and Samsung could just make a feature in 8 hours or something? Even if they did copy the idea from apple they obviously have better developers or apple wasn't planning on introducing it. Cause lets face it, Steve jobs if anything was a very good marketer. Android just best apple to the punch. Simple as that. Besides Android is only getting better while iOS is beginning to stagnate
      • And...

        You're the one that's 5 layers of stupid. 2009 to 2012 is 3 years, not "8 hours" as you said. Plenty enough time to do it.

        Apple has no problem holding out on a feature until the technology is there. The iPhone 5 with LTE is a perfect example. They waited for the 2nd Gen. LTE chipsets that are much smaller and much, much more efficient. I'd rather wait for a feature to be better perfected, instead of being a beta tester like many Android owners are for many of its features.

        Considering Android (Google-owned) wasn't even around in 2006, draw your own conclusion.

        As I said, the Android fans will cry foul. Thanks for proving my point.
        • Do a little Googling first...

          So, Android wasn't even around in 2006 huh?

          Okay, so a pitch to investors for Android's photo cloud storage capabilities was made in 2004, Google acquired Android in 2005, iPhone was absolutely no where in the picture up until 2007 and yet, you say Android wasn't even around in 2006.

          Please try a little research before making a statement on the Web or hey, try doing a little Googling since Apple doesn't have its own search engine.

          iOS is a dated, stagnant and outdated product and poorly executed so please stop your rhetoric.
        • Just wait a little longer...

          I applaud your patience to wait until something is perfected before buying into it. By the way, have you bought a car yet? I'm guessing you're still walking, barefoot.
        • LTE ????? Not sure that's a good example.

          I'm sure HTC, Samsung and others have claimed many infringements there, and wasn't there some question over 'licencing' the hardware. I know it's easy to forget the truth and it can spoil a good story but that's life.

          How any of this rubbish in the article constitutes a patentable entity is beyond me; Looks more like a random memory dump on the back of a fag packet to me.

          ps LG have already brought curved OLED to market but no doubt Apple will claim that infringes their slightly smaller 'wrap around' patent. Especially as you can reasonably assume a 16:9 aspect ratio from the kids sketches. LOL. You probably agree and are already waving the banners.
  • This is not "news" it's "olds"

    This patent has already been "reported' (belatedly) by ZDNet. And copious volumes of prior art have been already posted in response. Nothing to see here, move along.
    Mr. Copro Encephalic to You
  • So, the old business model is continued

    that is, repackaging others' poorly-presented hardware via look-and-feel "innovation".

    But others are increasingly better in packaging their own hardware in a marketable format, so where does this leave Apple?
  • Since when are Apple secrets at the patent office "news"?

    ... Apple patent applications have been scrutinized for years and many have come and gone that never produced anything substantive, or at least which anything that was planned for the immediate future.

    CBS Marketwatch reported this wraparound iPhone thing with a much more cautious outlook that its probably a few generations away.
  • Wow! A Billion in R&D over a few months.

    Big players need to spend more than that on R&D!
  • I just don't get it

    Why do I need a wrap around screen again? My eyes are still in the same spot they've always been. One on each side of the bridge of my nose. Am I supposed to carry a mirror also to use this phone? And will just holding it cause it to do things on it's own? Sorry but I just don't get it. Seems like a useless WOW factor to me. Guess I'll stick to a one sided phone.
  • No.. You're the one that's five layers of stupid.

    WTF.. all this bitching and moaning by fanbois is annoying as hell.. Grow up you turds. Everyone copies everyone. Moreover, they're all copying Roddenberry, Asimov, Clarke and Stan Lee for that matter.. WTF.. I was reading about this shit, ALL OF IT when I was a kid 30+ years ago... Get over it.