Patent Stories March 8

AAPL: 101.03

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When Apple signed an exclusive deal to use the superstrong alloy liquidmetal way back in 2010, there was a lot of speculation about how Apple might use it. The only immediate answer we saw was in the SIM ejection tool supplied with iPhones.

While some had expected Apple to use liquidmetal for product casings, the high cost of the material seemed to rule that out, at least in the short-term. There’s also been no sign of the super long-lasting batteries some had suggested.

But Apple clearly does have a use for it beyond SIM eject tools, last year renewing those exclusive rights – and a patent granted to the company today suggests one possible reason why …

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Patent Stories February 23

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Patent Stories February 11

AAPL: 94.27

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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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9to5toys 

Patent Stories February 4

AAPL: 96.35

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In the patent battle that feels as if it will never end, Apple has today asked the Supreme Court not to review Samsung’s latest appeals request in the two companies’ ongoing patent feud. Back in December, it was announced that Apple and Samsung had reached a $548 million settlement, but with a catch. Samsung said in its part of the agreement that it reserved the right to reclaim reimbursement should any position of the trial be modified…

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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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Patent Stories February 2

AAPL: 96.43

-0.91
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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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