Apple considers 3D version of online store
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Apple considers 3D version of online store

An Apple patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple is considering a 3D version of its online store. Think Second Life (

Patent number 7660749 is for a method, system and medium for representing visitor activity in an online store. Representing activity in an online store is disclosed. Information associated with the activities of a second visitor to the store is received. An indication of the presence of a first visitor at the store is also received. The activities of the second visitor are displayed to the first visitor. The inventor is David A. Koski.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "The goals of both online shops and physical stores are generally the same--facilitating the purchase of goods and services by customers. In some cases, online shopping offers advantages over shopping in a physical store. For example, online shops are often open continuously, whereas most physical stores have set hours. Online shoppers are also able to leverage features such as search functionality while physical shoppers are not. However, one drawback of online shopping is that the experience can feel sterile and isolating. Customers in such an environment may be less likely to have positive feelings about the online shopping experience, may be less inclined to engage in the online equivalent of window shopping (e.g., will not linger in front of a display), and may ultimately spend less money than their counterparts who shop in physical stores."

And following are summaries of other patents that appeared today.

Patent number 7660749 is for an animated graphical user interface for a display screen or a portion thereof. The inventor is Imran Chaudhri.

Patent number RE41113 involves systems and methods for replacing open windows in a graphical user interface. Systems and methods for returning windows to an original location are described. When springing already open windows to a new location on a display space, it is desired to return that window to its original location for certain situations. A list is provided when the springing operation is initialized which captures information used to return the sprung window. According to exemplary embodiments, the relocation of various windows is tracked to ensure that each window is returned to an original location. The inventor is Max E. McFarland.

Patent number 7658095 is for water detection arrangement. An electronic device having an enclosure is disclosed. The electronic device includes a hole disposed at least partially through the enclosure. The electronic device also includes a detector configured to provide at least one visual indication after being immersed in water. The detector may include a moisture-indicating portion and a light-permitting moisture-proof membrane. The detector may be disposed inside at least one of the enclosure and the hole such that at least a portion of the detector is visible through the hole from outside of the enclosure without dismantling or opening the electronic device. The distance between the light-permitting moisture-proof membrane and an opening of the hole in the enclosure may be less than the distance between the moisture-indicating portion and the opening of the hole. The inventors are Emery Sanford, Stephen P. Zadesky, Philip M. Hobson, M. Evans, Hankey, Stephen Brian Lynch, Tang Yew Tan and Erik L. Wang.

Patent number 7660831 is for synchronization methods and systems. Widget synchronization architectures, methods, systems, and computer readable media are described. One exemplary embodiment includes a first software component which is configured to cause retrieval and storage of data for a first data class for one or more widgets from a first store of the data on a device, such as a first data processing system, and is configured to synchronize data for the first data class in the first store with data of the first data class in a second store on at least one of a host or another device, such as a second data processing system. The first software component is separate from a widget application software which provides a user interface to allow a user to use the data. The first software component synchronizes the structured data through a second software component which interfaces with the host and the device. The inventor is Gordon J. Freedman.

Patent number 7660929 involves a connector system for a multi-communication device. A connector interface system for a communication device is disclosed. The interface includes a docking connector. The docking connector includes first make/last break contacts that minimize internal damage to the internal electronics. The docking connector also includes specific keying arrangement to prevent noncompliant connectors from being plugged in, and thereby minimizes potential damage to the multi-communication device. The connector interface system also includes a remote connector which provides for the ability to output audio, input audio, provides I/O serial protocol, and to provide an output video. Embodiments of the present invention allow for a standard headphone cable to be plugged in but also for special remote control cables, microphone cables, video cables could be utilized in such a system. The connector interface system also includes a serial protocol to control device features. These controls help a user sort and search for data more efficiently within the device. The inventors are Donald J. Novotney, John B. Filson and David Tupman.

Patent number 7659896 is for a method and apparatus for chaining two or more tweens to provide non-linear multimedia effects. An improved method for generating non-linear multimedia effects by employing two or more tweens. Specifically, a second tween mapping is chained to a first tween mapping. A first time signal is received. The first tween is employed to map the first time signal into a second time signal. The second tween mapping is employed to map the second time signal into an output that varies in a non-linear fashion with respect to the first time signal. The inventors are J. Peter Hoddie and Sean Allen.

Patent number 7660104 is for an user interface component with a removable cover. A user interface component for use in an electronic device is disclosed. The electronic device includes a first part and a second part. The user interface component may include a structural part configured to provide structural stiffness for the user interface component. The structural part may include an aperture. The aperture may allow a fastener to pass through the structural part to couple the first part with the second part without removing the structural part from the electronic device. The aperture may also allow the fastener to be removed from the electronic device through the structural part without removing the structural part from the electronic device. The user interface component may also include a cover detachably coupled with the structural part. The cover may cover the aperture and may receive user input. The inventor is Chris Ligtenberg.

Patent number 7660127 involves electrical components coupled to circuit boards. The present invention can facilitate the coupling between electrical components and a circuit board after the circuit board is inserted into a housing of an electronic device. An electrical component can be integrated with a flexible circuit of another electrical component. The flexible circuit can be electrically and mechanically coupled to the circuit board after the circuit board is inserted into the housing. Alternatively, electrical contacts can be disposed on a body of the electrical component and a complementary set of electrical contacts can be disposed on the circuit board. When the circuit board is disposed within a receptacle of the electrical component, the electrical contacts on the electrical component are coupled directly to the electrical contacts on the circuit board. The inventors are Douglas Joseph Weber, Pinida Jan Moolsintong, Robdert Sean Murphy and Stephen Brian Lynch.

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