Slide to Unlock ▪ April 23, 2013

The iPhone lockscreen hasn’t changed much in the past six versions of iOS, with the exception of the addition of a camera slider. Atom is a new jailbreak tweak that seeks to completely redesign the lockscreen and add new functionality, and it does not disappoint.

Keep reading to find out how Atom can make your lockscreen even more useful.

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Slide to Unlock ▪ April 5, 2013

Text-selectionApple’s decision to disable VPN on demand functionality on iOS due to the virnetX lawsuit isn’t the only patent related Apple news today. Head below for a roundup of Apple’s court woes and wins from earlier today:

Samsung infringes key text-selection patent: Reuters reports that the International Trade Commission has handed down a preliminary decision ruling Samsung infringed on an Apple patent related to a text-selection feature. However, the courts also ruled Samsung didn’t infringe another patent related to detecting when other devices are plugged into a microphone jack. If the text-selection decision is upheld, the result could be a U.S. import ban on Galaxy, Transform, and Nexus devices: expand full story

Slide to Unlock ▪ April 19, 2012

With court moderated settlement talks between Apple and Samsung executives set to take place within the next 90 days, Samsung has now filed a counterclaim in a California federal court alleging Apple’s iOS devices are infringing eight patents. The counterclaim is part of an original patent infringement lawsuit initiated by Apple in February. Foss Patents reported:

It comes as no surprise that Samsung retaliated with infringement claims. Samsung owns roughly 30,000 U.S. patents. It has from the outset of its dispute with Apple demonstrated its belief that a good offense is the best defense. So far, none of Samsung’s infringement claims against Apple has succeeded anywhere on Earth, despite efforts in nine different countries, but Samsung keeps on fighting.

Apple is also in the middle of patent infringement cases with HTC, which just told a court in London that its touchscreen devices, specifically its “slide-to-unlock” functionality, do not infringe on Apple’s patents. Bloomberg reported today that HTC’s lawyers described the functionality in question as “extremely simple implementations of commonly known techniques.” Apple’s lawyer Simon Thorley argued HTC is “attacking the validity of four patents” and claimed, “It is clear the inventions make the requisite contributions.”

If HTC is successful, it could have an impact in ongoing patent infringement related cases with Apple in Dutch and German courts. The report described the functionality Apple claims is covered in the patents:

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Slide to Unlock ▪ December 29, 2011

Much like the somewhat controversial face unlock feature built-in to Google’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone, a new patent application reveals Apple too is working on similar, but more advanced user detection solutions. As PatentlyApple pointed out, Apple noted these recognition systems could land in a future iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or MacBook.

The basics of the patent entitled “Low Threshold Face Recognition,” is to allow a user to unlock a device—such an iPhone or iPad—using facial recognition. Apple’s solution could allow the device’s camera to recognize the user even when the device is in sleep mode. In other words, the device’s camera would remain active when sleeping, detect the user, and unlock the device without having to press the sleep/wake button. This could, in theory, allow a user to bypass the current Slide to Unlock feature.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the system would be the ability for the device’s settings to be customized depending on the user. For example, when detecting a specific user, iOS could set personalized wallpapers, notification settings, and custom configurations for apps. This would provide multiple user logins, allowing iOS users to easily share a device among family or coworkers.

Apple’s system would differ from other face recognition systems by ignoring face biometrics. As PatentlyApple explained, “The face recognition techniques are based on a simple, weighted difference map, rather than traditional (and computationally expensive) correlation matching.” Apple’s system could detect “high information portions” of a face such as the eyes, mouth, or the tip of a nose. In addition, an “orange-distance filter” could be applied to determine variations in skin tone and detect the “likely presence” of a user. This could detect the distance between the device and the user’s face, as well as the user’s “level of attentiveness.”

In 2010, before the iPad launch, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple was experimenting with the ability to recognize individual users with the device’s camera. Today’s patent was originally filed in 2009.

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