MacDirectory Magazine

Spring-Summer 2012

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 47 of 115

COMMENTARY A GLIMPSE INTO APPLE'S FUTURE PRODUCT RELEASES PATENT ANALYSIS BY JACK PURCHER •WORDS BY MATTHEW SCHILDROTH FOR MORE, VISIT It is time once again to examine the patent applications that Apple has filed to attempt to extricate a roadmap for future devices from the bondage of patent ambiguity. This time around, there are four things to focus on: the new Apple TV (television, not set-top box), new 3D imaging devices, a new MacBook Pro, and further developments with near-field communication in a product the rumor community has affectionately termed "iWallet." Apple TV The new Apple TV has been something the rumor mills have been churned about the past two or three months. The idea has been around since rumors first started in 2007 — before the release of the first Apple TV set-top box — but it has kicked into high gear as more information is released. Apple has just won a patent for a technology called Fringe Field Switching, or FFS, which is designed to provide a greater range of color with higher luminosity. Why does this matter? One would imagine that Apple would provide a better-looking display anyway, right? The interesting thing is a related story in which Hon Hai Precision Industry, the parent company of Foxconn, one of Apple's primary manufacturers and part suppliers, and well-known technology company Sharp, have partnered to revamp Sharp's LCD panel division. Given that the base technology of FFS is rooted in IPS, a technology whose patent is presently held by Sharp, it seems likely that this partnership is specifically designed to produce the Apple TV. What it means for Sharp as a company, it is hard to say, but it looks at this point as if Apple needs it (most likely for its patents) to produce the quality of display this type of patent points to. Sharp is in a very good place. 3D Imaging Next up is work in the 3D imaging department. While information here is particularly premature, it does strike me as very interesting, particularly given the previously mentioned patent. According to a recent patent application, Apple is working on 3D imaging, most likely for iOS devices, that would take advantage of LIDAR, RADAR, and Laser technologies to create stereo disparity maps that would yield much more accurate 3D recordings of both images and video. Unlike current 3D cameras that only approximate depth of objects, this sensor would actually be able to perceive that depth. Alongside this patent is another one for the 3D creation app that would apply to their recent push for avatar creation. This would be particularly useful for gaming, but could also work its way into other arenas as well, such as how Microsoft has used avatars with the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Marketplace. MacBook Pro Third is the next-generation, or possibly next-next-generation MacBook Pro. Apple has filed a new MacBook Pro trademark in Hong Kong, and within this trademark we see some odd things. It is filed under International Class 009, which includes three tags that stand out: touchscreens, tablet computers, and electronic notepads. These tags were not included in previous trademark applications, indicating Apple may be thinking more seriously about a MacBook/iPad hybrid. Especially given the direction the Mac OS is going, it is easy to see it happening. Time will tell. iWallet Finally, we see solid developments in the iWallet/NFC camp. It has long been expected that Apple will at some point introduce near- field communication technologies into the iPhone. But with every new iPhone iteration, it doesn't seem to make the cut as to what Apple deems worthwhile or ready to put in the device. Apple has just won a patent for "Mobile Pay." The primary focus of this patent seems to be implementation of features that allow subsidiary accounts for employer-employee, parent-child, or other similar relationships in which the primary account holder wants to grant controlled access to another person. The owner would be able to be so specific as to set budget rules that would not only limit to a general spending cap, but could even limit within particular categories such as restaurants, clothing, or electronics. The limit could even be a soft cap that would allow the transaction but alert the account holder, or it could be a hard cap that would decline the transaction. The amount of control allows for many implementations, and the sooner we get this technology, the better. Read about these patents and more at 46 MacDirectory

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MacDirectory Magazine - Spring-Summer 2012