There has been no shortage of Apple patent applications published by the US Patent & Trademark Office today (via PatentlyApple). Three of the most interesting with potential to be implemented in upcoming products include a dual OLED backlighting system for future iPads, integrated speaker clip for iPod nano, and new hold and swipe gestures for iOS devices.
First up we have a patent application that backs up a report from DigiTimes claiming Apple is considering alternative backlighting systems with a dual-LED light bar design for iPad 3. PatentlyApple outlines the application which details use of multiple OLED backlights not only in a future iPad, but also potentially in a next-gen iPhone, Cinema Display, MacBook, and iMac.
The report also claims Apple mentions “television in passing” within the application, while quoting an announcement from DuPont regarding new AMOLED processing technology, PatentlyApple says that tech is already being supplied to Asian AMOLED manufacturers. Apple’s alternative backlight solutions could also lead to an overall thinner design:
“The bonding of the OLED backlight in the LCD may also increase the mechanical rigidity of the LCD, which may enable the use of thinner glass substrates and possibly reduce the thickness of the overall device. Further, an OLED backlight may generally be thinner than a typical LED backlight, and may also provide improved light uniformity without the use of light guides or additional brightness enhancing films.”
Details on iPod nano speaker patent and swipe and hold iOS gestures below the fold.
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Next up, the proposed speaker for iPod nano (and shuffle), which would essentially build a small integrated piezoelectric speaker into a clip similar to the nano’s existing clip. Not just any speaker, however, according to PatentlyApple the company plans on using Kapton polyimide film in the design, which among other things, was used as thermal insulation on space suits and NASA’s Apollo lunar module. This would definitely be welcomed for nano users who listen to music in situations when wearing headphones might be dangerous or distracting. It would also be suitable for voice-control features.
Finally we have a patent application detailing a set of new gestures that will allow you to manipulate objects in order to enhance their visibility. These add to the mid-drag and micro gestures discovered in April, and gestures based on physical metaphors from July. The new gestures are based around holding and swiping (or swiping then holding), and seem to be specifically suited for smaller displays where pinching and multiple finger gestures can be awkward or block info. There is also mention of an Android-like tilt to zoom feature using the device’s accelerometer. PatentlyApple explains:
“In one example, a user may perform a “swipe then hold” touch input gesture, leaving a finger on the display screen of the electronic device. The electronic device then may pan and zoom onto any objects along a direction vector of the user’s swipe gesture or, more generally, along a directional path associated with the user’s swipe gesture. The user may vary the speed and/or direction of such cycling by moving the finger to the left or to the right and/or by tilting the orientation of the display screen.”
As for the “Hold then Swipe” gesture:
“…when a user selects a particular person’s face in an image and performs the touch input gesture, the electronic device may begin to automatically cycle through other images that also contain the face of the identified person.”