February 11

AAPL: 93.70

-0.57
Stock Chart

iPhones could in future automatically sound louder or quieter notification alerts depending on the level of background noise. A patent application published today describes how both an iPhone and Apple Watch could periodically measure ambient sound levels, adjusting notification volumes to an appropriate level.

The patent notes that while users can manually adjust the volume of alerts, many don’t do so because they forget or because it’s too much hassle. The patent suggests that the primary sound reading would be taken from the Apple Watch (aka ‘a wearable device’) …

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February 4

AAPL: 96.60

0.25
Stock Chart

An intriguing Apple patent application published today describes how the Touch ID home button could gain additional functionality, allowing it to perform different actions in response to different fingerprints, as well as adding pressure sensors to provide it with 3D Touch type functionality.

The patent goes into a great deal of detail about the technology, with little information as to what it might be used for, but Apple does give a couple of clues. One use of different fingerprints described is to allow someone else to use your iPhone or iPad, but restrict their access to particular apps and for a limited time. The obvious application here would be allowing a child to use only specific apps and/or limit the time they are allowed to use a device …

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February 3

AAPL: 96.35

1.87
Stock Chart

Last month, it was reported that patent troll VirnetX is seeking $532 million in damages from Apple, claiming that the company has taken its intellectual property without permission. The suit focused on a variety of VirnetX patents relating to technology used in creating Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs. VirnetX said that Apple’s own VPN technology, as well as its iMessage and FaceTime services, infringe on its patents. After another week of hearing, the East Texas Federal District Court has now unanimously ruled that Apple owes VirnetX $625 million in damages.

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9to5toys 

February 2

AAPL: 94.48

-1.95
Stock Chart

Apple was today granted a patent for detecting touch-free gestures at close range, the patent language suggesting that the approach could build on the capabilities of multi-touch and 3D touch to respond to fingers hovering close to an iPhone or iPad display, as well as use on keyboards and trackpads.

The patent describes using sensors similar to the proximity detectors used to disable accidental touch input on the iPhone screen when you’re holding the phone to your face during a call. Unlike longer-range gesture technologies like Kinect, the system would detect ‘hover events’ just above the surface of the screen …

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January 26

AAPL: 99.99

0.55
Stock Chart

While those of us who would happily trade thinner iPhones for better battery-life may be in the minority, even fans of ultra-thin phones expressed disappointment at the camera bump in the iPhone 6 and 6s. The problem Apple faced is that the laws of physics determine just how thin you can make a sensor and lens arrangement for any given aperture while retaining quality. But a patent application originally filed in 2013, continued last July and granted today could provide a solution.

Instead of the usual flat sensor, the patent describes a ‘spherically curved photosensor’ that would allow the distance between the lens elements and the sensor to be reduced, allowing for a thinner camera module …

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January 25

AAPL: 99.44

-1.98
Stock Chart

According to a report out of Bloomberg, notorious patent troll VirnetX is seeking $532 million from Apple, claiming that Apple has taken its intellectual property without permission. VirnetX holds a variety of patents relating to technology used in creating Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs. The company claims that Apple’s own VPN technology, as well as its FaceTime and iMessage services, all infringe on its patents.

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9to5google 

January 14

AAPL: 99.52

2.13
Stock Chart

An Apple patent application published today reveals an idea for an interesting variation on the magnetically-closed Milanese Loop band that allows it to do much more than simply secure the Apple Watch on your wrist.

By using a careful arrangement of magnet orientations, the band can transform itself into a protective case when travelling, a stand on a bedside table or desk – or a Mac accessory …

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January 12

AAPL: 99.96

1.43
Stock Chart

A new patent awarded to Apple today suggests that the company’s audio plans for future iPhones may go beyond reportedly ditching the 3.5mm headphone socket in favor of Lightning and Bluetooth. The patent is very densely-worded, but seemingly describes a method of getting higher-quality and higher-volume audio from speakers built into slimmer devices.

Apple’s statement of the problem is clear enough.

Given the area constraints imposed on many portable electronic devices, it is increasingly difficult to provide high-quality audio sound output and pickup without hindering the ability to make portable electronic devices smaller and thinner. Consequently, there is a need for improved approaches to provide high-quality audio sound output and/or pickup from portable electronic devices as they get smaller and thinner.

The language describing Apple’s proposed solution is less clear, but from a combination of this and the accompanying diagrams, I at least have a working theory of what is being suggested …

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January 7

AAPL: 96.45

-4.25
Stock Chart

We heard a report in November that Apple was testing an iPhone 7 model with dual rear cameras, and a patent application published today not only confirms that Apple is indeed exploring the idea, but reveals some extremely exciting possibilities with such a setup.

The most basic of these, noted by Patently Apple, is effectively optical zoom. By fitting two separate camera modules behind the lens, and creating a single lens with both standard and telephoto sections, you’d be able to switch between two different focal lengths. For the first time, you’d be able to take a zoomed-in photo without cropping away pixels to end up with a lower-resolution image.

But the possible applications described in the patent go way beyond this …

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electrek 

December 21, 2015

AAPL: 107.33

1.30
Stock Chart

December 15, 2015

AAPL: 110.49

-1.99
Stock Chart

Despite the $548M settlement reached earlier this month, Samsung has now asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of its patent battle with Apple, reports the WSJ. The company is arguing that lower courts misapplied the law concerning Apple’s design patents.

Specifically, Samsung is asking the court to review rulings concerning “design patents” that cover the look and feel of a product. At trial, Apple convinced the jury that basic design elements of certain Samsung smartphones—essentially a rectangle with rounded corners and a touch-screen grid made up of smaller icons—borrowed too closely from Apple’s iPhone design.

Samsung argues that lower courts made two mistakes …

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December 10, 2015

AAPL: 116.17

0.55
Stock Chart

While Apple didn’t make any claims about water-resistance when it launched the iPhone 6s/Plus, submersion tests showed that the company has clearly been working hard in this area – with the new phones still working after a full hour underwater. But water will always get in through ports like the Lightning and headphone sockets, and a new patent application by Apple suggests that it may have a way to fix this …

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December 9, 2015

AAPL: 115.62

-2.61
Stock Chart

A lot of us have been wondering how it was that Apple’s design team went off the rails when designing the new iPhone Smart Battery Case. Nilay Patel at The Verge, has now put forward one possible explanation: Apple had to find a way to avoid infringing the patents of the market leader in battery cases, Mophie …

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9to5toys 

December 4, 2015

AAPL: 119.03

3.83
Stock Chart

Almost five years after Samsung was found guilty of infringing Apple patents, and some four trials later, the two companies have agreed to settle out of court for $548M. Samsung says that if Apple submits an invoice for this amount by the weekend, it will be paid within ten days, reports FOSS Patents.

As you may recall, Apple was initially awarded $1B in damages, then $450M of it was overturned and replaced with $290M, for a new total of $930M. The U.S. appeals court later decided that was still too high, and a new trial was set to take place next year unless the parties could reach a settlement in the meantime. That settlement has now been reached, but there’s a catch …  expand full story

December 3, 2015

AAPL: 115.20

-1.08
Stock Chart

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has today published an Apple patent application for incorporating displays into woven fabric. While the patent describes a variety of possible uses, some of the language effectively describes use in Apple Watch bands, with several of the drawings also pointing to this.

A woven fabric includes light transmissive fibers woven into the fabric to provide a visual display. The fabric may be used as a tether to releasably connect a portable electronic device to a user. The light transmissive fibers may transmit light to convey information to the user.

One specific part of the application describes a case where “portable electronic device includes a timekeeping device,” and a list of potential devices includes “electronic wrist watches” …  expand full story

November 30, 2015

AAPL: 118.30

0.49
Stock Chart
9to5google 

November 5, 2015

AAPL: 120.92

-0.56
Stock Chart

The USPTO has today published a patent application by Apple to allow a specific fingerprint to activate a ‘panic mode’ on an iPhone, designed for use when the owner feels threatened, is in danger or is being forced to unlock their phone.

In its most basic form, placing a specific finger on the Touch ID button would place the iPhone into a special locked-down mode, blocking access to personal data store on the phone – perhaps simulating a brand new phone. In that way, if a street robber forced you to unlock your phone before handing it over, your data would be safe.

But the patent application goes far beyond this …  expand full story

October 28, 2015

AAPL: 119.27

4.72
Stock Chart

A patent troll is currently suing Apple, Samsung and half the automotive industry – as well as other companies – over the use of a vague, decade old patent that covers operating certain functions of a vehicle, like starting the engine and locking/unlocking doors, through a “watch” – now known as a “smartwatch”.

Intellectual Capital Consulting (LCC), the plaintiff in the lawsuit (which we embed below), claims that the defendants are using patented technology in smartwatch products and software that they are selling or contributing to sell. expand full story

October 16, 2015

AAPL: 111.04

-0.82
Stock Chart

Earlier this week, Apple was found guilty in an ongoing patent lawsuit initiated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the time, Apple was said to potentially owe the university’s patent licensing arm $862 million in damages. Today, however, Reuters reports that the jury in the case, after much deliberation, has ordered Apple to pay $234 million in damages.

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electrek 

October 13, 2015

AAPL: 111.79

0.19
Stock Chart

A jury today in Madison, Wisconsin has found Apple guilty of using technology owned by the University of Wisconsin without permission. According to a report from Reuters, Apple used chip technology owned by the university in its A7, A8, and A8X processors, which are found in the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and several iPad variants.

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