USPTO publishes Apple iTravel patent with Passbook-like features and NFC tech

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a series of Apple-granted patents today related to iTravel that reek of Passbook and Near Field Communications.

According to Patently Apple, the “boarding pass and express check-in” feature spotlighted in iOS 6′s Passbook app, which Senior Vice President of iPhone Software Scott Forstall previously announced, is covered in today’s iTravel patent. Apple also received coverage for NFC tech, that we think has a pretty good shot of going into the next iPhone, within iTravel that concerns the check-in process and, more specifically, factors for transportation providers to perform identification and ticketing checks.

Patently Apple explained:

  • Apple’s iTravel check-in system will work with Macs, but more importantly, with iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Ticketing and identification information will be stored on the iOS device and transmitted, such as via near field communication, to another electronic device. The handheld device may be used to check into flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, trains, buses, and so forth.
  • Additionally, traveler identification information may be transmitted electronically to enable faster security verification during check-in. The traveler identification information may enable automatic lookup of the traveler in a security database, thereby reducing the inconveniences of incorrect identification. Travelers may also provide specialized identification, such as fingerprints or retinal scans, in order to provide heightened security on high-risk modes of transportation.

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Apple shows off a 3D Avatar building app as part of a patent application

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Patently Apple did what it does and dug up a patent related to building 3D avatars:

Earlier today we introduced Apple’s 3D Avatar App which covered a basic overview of the new application in the works. Now a second patent application has surfaced and it actually shows that the app is already running on an iPad! We have the screenshot to prove it. The new patent application focuses on how the app will work with color palettes and more. The big news however is that the new 3D Avatar App is in its final stages of development and that’s very cool. Evidently phase-one of the application is geared for the younger crowd, but other editions could be in the works as discussed in our first report today.

This could be for GameCenter or a number of other areas where you would want to create an online personality.

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Apple, Steve Jobs posthumously granted patent application for Shanghai Apple Store design

Late last year, the New York Times did a great interactive feature on the 323 Patents that Steve Jobs was granted as CEO of Apple.

From Patently Apple today:

Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a design patent for their flagship Shanghai Apple Store which opened its doors in September 2010. One of the designers credited for this incredible architecture is the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

He keeps racking them up… Read more

Engineers are dreaming up iPad robots

Update: Ooops. Originally thought this was an Apple patent.

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Patently Apple today publishes some interesting new patents from developers including what appears to be an “iRobot” (oops, name taken) built around an iPad head.

iRobot’s introductory abstract describes the invention this way: “A robot system includes a mobile robot having a controller executing a control system for controlling operation of the robot, a cloud computing service in communication with the controller of the robot, and a remote computing device in communication with the cloud computing service. The remote computing device communicates with the robot through the cloud computing service.”

Subsequent drawings include navigation and obstacle avoidance (below) which seems to indicate that this is a “mobile” device in every sense of the word.  Most of the perceived applications appear to be in the medical setting… Read more

Apple patents clever diagnostic tool which can figure out how you handled your iOS gadget

As noted by PatentlyApple, Apple has filed a patent report today that details a new diagnostic tool that works through iTunes. The tool uses in-depth change logs that details firmware updates, physical conditions that surround the device during the events, the location of the device, and more. iTunes could be set to find corruption in the change log to let the user, and possibly a support Genius, know of what needs to be changed.

The log may be generated periodically (e.g., every 5 milliseconds, every 30 minutes, every 5 hours, after every reset, or at any other time based or event based or environment based event occurs). Each generated log may be stored on the Apple device or uploaded to a remote entity, and each log may be retained or overwritten by a more recently generated log depending on available storage space and/or processing capabilities, for example.

So what about privacy? The log will contain only information that will aid Apple in helping you, and will be without any personal information. As we’d imagine, each time you connect a device, like an iPhone, to iTunes it will pull the log. Like any patent, this might not actually be used. But hey, anything to save a trip to the Genius Bar right? Could this possibly tie in with this morning’s report regarding a web based tool?

Apple's trademark filing reveals "Noteworthy". Registering a Font?

Patently Apple today reveals a trademark today by Apple for the word “Noteworthy” which they postulate is a new OCR app that could be released in iOS 5.  One use would be taking an image and turing it into a document like Google’s recent Docs app does.

Update: Apple has a Font named Noteworthy which is likely the reason for registration Read more

Apple will help you share and purchase apps

Apple is deadly serious with its App-driven vision for life in the clouds, with a new patent application describing its new way to share and buy apps from the cloud.

Published today and spotted by Patently Apple the application reveals the concepts behind the Apple vision, whch essentially allows users to share apps on their phones — say you were impressed the first time you saw Angry Birds, for example. Read more