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Jul 17
Apple working on slot antennas for electronic devices

Two new Apple patents have appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that show Apple is working on different antenna ideas.

Patent number 8223082 involves slot antennas for electronic devices. The slot antennas may have a dielectric-filled slot that is formed in a ground plane element. The ground plane element may be formed from part of a conductive device housing. The slot may have one or more holes at its ends.

The holes may affect the impedance characteristics of the slot antennas so that the length of the slot antennas may be reduced. For example, the holes can be used to synthesize the impedance of the slot antennas so that the slot antennas have a resonant frequency that is different from their natural resonant frequency.

The holes may affect the impedance of the slot antennas in multiple radio-frequency bands. The inventors are Bing Chiang, Douglas B. Kough and Enrique Ayala Vazquez.

Patent number 8223077...

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Jul 17
Apple granted patent for power adapters for peripheral...

An Apple patent (number 8222773) for power adapters for powering and/or charging peripheral devices has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Per the patent, the power adapter includes a housing that contains electrical components associated with the power adapter. The power adapter also includes a data port provided at a surface of the housing. The data port is configured to provide external power to the peripheral device.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "The invention pertains to power adapters that allow a user to power and/or charge a peripheral device such as a portable electronic device without requiring any additional cables or connectors. The invention also pertains to a connection method for powering a peripheral without requiring a host, peripheral or hub to remain powered on. The connection method allows peripherals to operate on buses that do not supply power. The invention is particularly suitable for peripheral...

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Jul 17
Number of bandwidth hungry apps, broadband Internet...

An explosion of bandwidth-hungry applications and broadband Internet users is driving dramatic changes in the high-speed data transmission market. Meanwhile, fiber optic sensor technology is also expanding rapidly.

Monitoring and data transmission using fiber optic sensors and optical fiber in cabling have become commonplace in various applications. What does the future hold for optical networks and sensors? According to new data from Global Information (http://www.giiresearch.com) -- an information service company partnering with over 300 research companies around the world -- public and private networks are experiencing unprecedented end-user demand for bandwidth, resulting in a need to cost-effectively scale the capacity of communications networks.

The amount of backbone Internet bandwidth maintained by major Internet carriers has been expanding by 75% to 125% per year. 40 Gb/s networks...

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Jul 16
70% of teens hide online behavior from parents

McAfee (http://www.mcafee.com), a security technology company, has released findings from the company’s "2012 Teen Internet Behavior" study. They're disturbing, though not surprising.

The study investigates the online habits, behaviors, interests, and lifestyles of the first generation to truly grow up online, and discloses how teens are not only engaging in risky behaviors, but how they are hiding it from their parents, many of whom don’t realize they are being fooled. The study also exposes 10 ways teens are hiding their online activities from their parents.

Despite their awareness of online dangers, teens continue to take risks by posting personal information and risky photos online, unbeknownst to parents. Many teens are accessing inappropriate online content, despite 73.5% of parents whom trust their teens to not access age-inappropriate content online. Specifically 43% of teens have accessed...

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Jul 13
Greg's Bite: Google's got balls -- Nexus Q...

By Greg Mills

Google's got balls.

That crude statement has a whole rainbow of meanings, depending on who you are.  

To Steve Jobs it meant Eric Schmidt, Apple board member and CEO of Google at the time, had stolen the look and feel of iPhone to inspire Android. Apple's thermonuclear legal war was launched. Jobs appeared to be upset.

To Oracle, owner of Java, it means Google intentionally used bits of Java code to get the Android OS working without licensing the software. Will it also mean they fight infringement actions in court and win? Ouch! Now Google wants Oracle to pay Google's attorneys for their time.  

To the Federal Trade Commission, it means that the worst offender in high tech abuses of user agreements (other than Facebook) has again been busted. This time Google was fined for tricking Safari into accepting advertising cookies that over rode user preferences to not be tracked.

The long list of examples of...

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Jul 13
My crystal ball: no iPad cannibalization of Mac sales

In a note to clients -- as reported by "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com) -- BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman said he expects Apple to post a "significant miss"for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2012 as Mac sales continue to be cannibalized by the company's iPad tablet line. I have to disagree.

Despite raising sales estimates for both the iPhone and iPad, Bachman said the June quarter and upcoming final fiscal quarter of 2012 will be "challenging" for Apple as the tech company Apple could see an US$5.5 billion miss from the $38.5 billion consensus for the company's fourth fiscal quarter ending in September if its third quarter performance is in line with the current $37.5 billion forecast, according to historical patterns and outlooks.

Bachman says his Mac sales estimate is expected to drop 1.6 million units over the same six quarter period. He dropped his Mac sales estimate from 18...

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Jul 12
Apple looking to improve iPhone handset/earpiece audio...

An Apple patent (number 201200177222) for dynamic audio parameter adjustment using touch sensing has appeared at the U.S Patent & Trademark Office. It's designed to improve audio quality in headsets and earpieces for the iPhone.

Per the invention, an audio communications device has a handset in which a touch sensing ear piece region is coupled to an acoustic leakage analyzer. The acoustic leakage analyzer is to analyze signals from the touch sensing ear piece region and on that basis adjust an audio processing parameter. The latter configures an audio processor which generates an audio receiver input signal for the device.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "People have long been accustomed to making telephone calls using a handset whose earpiece portion the user typically presses up against her ear (in order to better hear the voice of the other party.) As mobile phones became prevalent, the acoustic system that delivers sound to the user's...

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Jul 12
Apple patent involves cowling structures in portable...

An Apple patent (number 2012176277) for electronic devices having multi-purpose cowling structures and a compass mounted on a flex circuit has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It's designed to offer more power, longer battery life and less weight in portable devices.

Per the patent, multi-purpose cowling structures are provided to minimize spacing impact within an electronic device, while maximizing functional utility. In one embodiment, an electromagnetic interference shield may provide one or more anchors for enabling a logic board cowling to apply sufficient downward force to one or more board connectors to prevent inadvertent disconnects.

In another embodiment, a cowling can electrically connect the ground plane of a logic board to the ground plane of a housing member and provide a pre-load force to a conductor connection existing on logic board. A compass mounted on a flexible printed circuit board is also provided. Mounting the compass on a...

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Jul 12
Apple eyeing iPhone case design with wind noise...

An Apple patent (number 20120177239) for a removable case design offering wind noise protection for the iPhone has appeared at the U.S Patent & Trademark Office. It would sport a windscreen over the smartphone's microphone to improve sound quality.

The invention (top graphic) is for a removable case for a mobile communications device includes an opening that aligns with a microphone port that is built into the device. The case includes a windscreen that is sealed across the opening of the case. The windscreen is designed to reduce wind noise, air blasts, vocal plosives, and other noise. Other embodiments are also described and claimed.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Handheld mobile communications devices, particularly mobile phones, have enabled users to engage in real-time two-way conversations while walking, running, riding in a car, or during other activities. In a number of these situations, a user may be conducting a conversation in...

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Jul 12
Apple, Google, Microsoft will challenge navigation...

There have been scattered rumors over the years that Apple would enter the automotive market (the iCar, perhaps?). Well that's not gonna happen, but major technology companies -- such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft -- are beginning to battle for share of the in-vehicle navigation market, according to the Strategy Analytics research group (http://www.strategyanalytics.com).

This may spell trouble for traditional tier one navigation manufacturers, like Continental, Denso, Harman, as well as Garmin and TomTom. The recent Apple announcement regarding its automotive original equipment manufacturer partnerships and the expansion of Apple’s mapping efforts could significantly change the in-vehicle navigation market.

"Previously major technology companies largely wrote off automotive markets," says John Canali, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics. "However, with a growing emphasis on...

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Jul 11
Thanks, Apple, for the FireWire-Thunderbolt adapter

Apple’ is to be commended for its decision to provide a FireWire-Thunderbolt adapter (US$29) for Macs such as its revamped MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines -- which lack FireWire ports.

Apple's new, great love -- and understandably so -- is Thunderbolt. Still, a lot of folks have big bucks invested in FireWire products. The FireWire-Thunderbolt adapter allows those products to be used with the latest Macs.

At its June 11 Worldwide Developers Conference Apple introduced a new FireWire adapter, or cable, for use on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac minis. It can be used with the Thunderbolt links included on the new models, and also can be used on similarly equipped 2011 Macs. The cable adds a wired interface to the MacBook Airs now in use.

Alas, the new systems won't natively use FireWire target disk mode. I'm not sure if you could put a Thunderbolt-only system into FireWire target disk mode using the FireWire-Thunderbolt adapter, but it should be possible to...

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Jul 10
Apple patent is for portable devices with multiple...

An Apple patent (number 8,217,619) for portable devices having multiple power interfaces has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. One of those interfaces involves solar power.

According to one embodiment of the invention, a portable electronic device includes, but is not limited to, a processor, a memory coupled to the processor for storing instructions, when executed from the memory, cause the processor to perform one or more functions, a battery coupled to provide power to the processor and the memory, and a battery charging manager coupled to charge the battery using power derived from a plurality of power sources including a solar power source. Other methods and apparatuses are also described.

Wendell B. Sander and Daniel A. Warren are the inventors.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Handheld computing devices typically use standard battery chemistries including ni-cad, lithium-ion, and nickel-metal hydride. In order...

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Jul 10
Apple investigating touch screens for laptops

An Apple patent (number 8,217,913) for an integrated touch screen has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple has investigated touch screens on Macs -- at least laptop Macs.

Per the patent, displays with touch sensing circuitry integrated into the display pixel stackup are provided. Circuit elements, such as touch signal lines, such as drive lines and sense lines, grounding regions, in the display pixel stackups can be grouped together to form touch sensing circuitry that senses a touch on or near the display.

An integrated touch screen can include multi-function circuit elements that can operate as circuitry of the display system to generate an image on the display, and can also form part of a touch sensing system that senses one or more touches on or near the display.

The multi-function circuit elements can be, for example, capacitors in display pixels that can be configured to operate as storage capacitors/electrodes, common...

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Jul 09
Americans’ smartphone attachment altering our...

Okay, folks, it's time to set that iPhone down for a while. It's affecting your mind.

Lookout (http://www.mylookout.com), makers of an app to protect your smartphone, has released the "Mobile Mindset Study," which analyzes and explores data-based trends in the emotions and behavior driven by smartphones. As people rely more on their smartphones, they are increasingly checking their phones in bed, in the bathroom, at the dinner table, and while driving. Lookout found the frequency that people check their smartphones is increasing:

° 58% of smartphone owners said they don’t go an hour without checking their phone.

° 54% of smartphone owners said they check their phones while lying in bed: before they go to sleep, after they wake up.

° Nearly 4 out of 10 people (39%) check their phones while using the bathroom.

The smartphone attachment is also enabling a whole new genre of...

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Jul 06
New iMacs -- Retina displays or not?

Will there be new iMacs of any sort introduced this year? And, if there are, will there be a Retina display model?

With no new iMacs or Mac Pros (and, no, the slight processor bump of the latter doesn't count) introduced at the 2012 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, several sources -- including David Pogue of, among other places, "The New York Times" -- hinted that there would be no new desktops until 2013.

However, "DigiTimes" (http://www.digitimes.com) -- which, admittedly, has a sporadic track record on Apple prognostications -- says Apple's supply chain will start supplying components for a new iMac this month with the updated all-in-one going on sale in October. The article says there's a "high chance" that the new iMac will sport a Retina display.

A couple of months ago ABC News (http://macte.ch/nNPeB) reported...

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Jul 05
Apple patent is for media content flocking

An Apple patent (number 20120174010) for media content flocking has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It relates to graphical user interfaces and digital video editing in applications such as iMovie and Final Cut Pro X.

According to implementations, a method can include displaying a first sequence of objects on a display of a computing device, receiving a selection of at least two non-adjacent objects from the first sequence, and animating the at least two non-adjacent objects to move along respective paths from the display of the first sequence to a current location of a cursor on the display. The objects in the first sequence can be video clips or other types of media, such as presentation slides, audio clips or any other media that can be manipulated in a timeline.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Video editing applications allow users to create, manipulate and aggregate video data. Vendors of video editing applications...

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Jul 05
Apple patent involves dual-mode iPhone headset

An Apple patent (number 20120171964) has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office showing that Apple is working on a dual-mode wired/wireless headset for the iPhone and other devices. The patent is for a wireless communication headset with wired and wireless models.

Per the patent, the wireless headset can include a headset connector assembly that can be coupled to a cable connector of a cable, which can in turn be connected to a telephone. When the wireless headset is coupled to the telephone, it can advantageously be operable to exchange audio information with the telephone through the cable, receive electrical power from the telephone through the cable, or both.

In addition, the cable connector can advantageously be coupled to the wireless headset without obstructing airflow to a microphone that is located in the headset connector assembly, through use of apparatus of the invention located on the cable connector, such as an acoustic tunnel, a microphone-...

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Jul 05
Apple sound panner patent hints at simplified surround...

An Apple patent (number 20120170758) has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a multi-channel sound panner. It shows that the company is working on simplified ways of implementing surround sound -- and may hint at a feature of the rumored "iTV."

A method and apparatus for multi-channel panning is provided. The panner can support an arbitrary number of input channels and changes to configurations to the output sound space. For example, the panner seamlessly handles changes in the number of input channels. Also, the panner supports changes to the number and positions of speakers in the output space.

In one embodiment, the panner allows continuous control of attenuation and collapsing. In one embodiment, the panner keeps source channels on the periphery of the sound space when collapsing channels. In one embodiment, the panner allows control over the path by which sources collapse.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "Sound panners are...

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Jul 05
Tablet usage for TV viewing continues to go up

The iPad continues its march toward world domination. But Macs will continue to rule, as well, it seems.

Use of tablets such as the iPad and Android-based devices by consumers for viewing TV/video content more than doubled in 14 regional markets surveyed, according to the latest "Global TV Replacement Study," conducted by NPD DisplaySearch (http://www.displaysearch.com). The widespread tablet adoption was driven by improved connectivity infrastructure has facilitated use of these devices as alternate content-viewing devices, notes the research group.

Besides tablets, consumers are also leveraging other alternate electronic devices such as laptops and mobile phones to view TV/video content. The study indicates that more than 70% of consumers use alternate electronic devices such as tablets (about 12%) , laptops (42%), smart phones (22%), MP3 players such as the iPod touch (12%) and desktop...

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Jul 03
Apple patent involves ... DVDs?

An Apple patent (number 8213766) for embedded information for DVD independent of DVD player software has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Yep, for DVDs, even though Apple seems to be slowly phasing out built-in optical drives on Macs -- and Steve Jobs described Blu-ray as a "bag of hurt."

The patent has an original filing date of 2010. So perhaps it has simply outgrown its usefulness. Or perhaps Apple is planning some sort of DVD version of iTunes Match such as Wal-Mart's service that turns DVD/Blu-ray collections into digital movies (http://macte.ch/1CVUJ).

Per the invention, an operating system extension is used to implement embedded information on a DVD. The operating system extension examines DVD sector addresses requested from the DVD hardware. When address associated with an embedded link is requested, an application program that can run the embedded link is started, and the...

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Jul 03
Apple patent is for a head-mounted display

An Apple patent (number 8212859) for peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Could this have something to do with the rumored "iTV?" An iMac with television features? The Mac line in general?

The invention involves methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing and using techniques for projecting a source image in a head-mounted display apparatus for a user. A first display projects an image viewable by a first eye of the user. A first peripheral light element is positioned to emit light of one or more colors in close proximity to the periphery of the first display.

A receives data representing a source image, processes the data representing the source image to generate a first image for the first display and to generate a first set of peripheral conditioning signals for the first peripheral light element, directs the first image to the first display, and directs the first set...

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Jul 03
When will the iWork components get Retina display...

In a new "FAQ" page (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5266) about the Retina display MacBook Pro, Apple lists its apps that have been optimized for the high resolution screen.

These applications include Mail, Safari, iCal, Address Book, iChat, FaceTime, Photo Booth, and TextEdit, iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, Aperture, Final Cut Pro X, and Motion. But iWork components aren't among those listed.

C'mon, Apple, Pages, Numbers and Keynote should have been Retina display optimized when the MacBook Pro Retina display shipped. They're among the most used apps on the Mac.

-- Dennis Sellers

| Read more »
Jul 03
Apple files patent for device foot

An Apple patent (number 8213177) for a device foot has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. A moveable device foot for an electronic device is described, such as that on the Magic Trackpad and Apple keyboard.

The device foot can include a rigid weight bearing member and a flexible sealing member that is integrally formed with the weight bearing member. The device foot can be formed using a double-shot injection molding process. The weight bearing member of the foot can be mounted to an interior portion of the electronic device such that it extends through an external casing of the electronic device.

The flexible sealing member can be mounted to the external casing to seal the interior of the electronic device. During operation of the electronic device, the device foot can be configured to move relative to the external casing, such as in response to an external force applied to the electronic device.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "...

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Jul 02
The Northern Spy: Nokia, RIM, Microsoft and imitators

By Rick Sutcliffe

What boundary is the link between young and old?

Is the Spy old because he hits a significant-sounding birthday number on July 3? Perhaps. After all, two nations celebrate his birthday annually, albeit one two days early, and another a day late. And, next year will be the thirtieth since he first typed this column on his Apple II.

Yet, perhaps after all, age is a state of mind. The Spy's father was a young-looking man at 65, retired that year, and died of old age and complications from Parkinson's and other ailments but six years after. So, the Spy has always said he wouldn't retire. And, in these uncertain times, relying on pensions funds/income carries a significant level of risk.

Yes, and he can still prove the fundamental theorem of calculus, explicate relativity, programming language design, electromagnetic equations, or the automorphism group of a graph, so...maybe not this year. A part sabbatical promises to be...

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Jul 02
Tablets helping shake up the traditional TV viewing...

If/when Apple releases its own branded HDTV, the product will almost certainly continue the trend of allowing Apple users to starting watching a video on device and continue watching it on another. And if the broadcast networks are smart, they'll work with Apple to move beyond today's outdated method of receiving content.

For example, new data from comScore (http://www.comscore.com), which specializes in "measuring the digital world, finds that tablets have quickly reached a critical mass in the U.S. with one in every four smartphone owners using tablets during the three-month average period ending April 2012. The study also found that tablet users were nearly three times more likely to watch video on their device compared to smartphone users, with one in every 10 tablet users viewing video content almost daily on their device.

"Tablets are one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies in...

| Read more »
 
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