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Apple details Waze-like crowd-sourced route ratings and incident reporting for real-time traffic alerts in Maps

Apple-maps-ratings-alerts

According to a new Apple patent application published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider), Apple is looking into new mapping features that would integrate real-time, crowd-sourced traffic and navigation data through ratings and user reporting.

At first glance the features appear to be similar to those included in the community-based mapping app ‘Waze’, which is one of the reasons that Google just acquired the company last month. The patent application, titled “User-Specified Route Rating and Alerts,” describes a system for users to “provide ratings for routes, streets and/or locations.” In other words, users can rate a suggested route when getting directions in order to provide crowd-sourced feedback to Apple and in return Apple will provide the most efficient and accurate routes to other users based on the ratings:

Particular implementations provide at least the following advantages: Route determination is improved by accounting for real-world considerations and concerns of travelers. Real-time user-generated alerts allow for faster and more accurate notification of events within proximity of a user that might hinder the user’s progress as the user travels… In some implementations, rating database 110 can store information related to users’ ratings of routes and/or locations. For example, a user of mobile device 102 can interact with navigation engine 104 to provide ratings for routes and/or locations. The ratings information provided by the user can be transmitted to navigation service 106 through network 114. Navigation service 106 can store the ratings information in rating database 110 and route engine can determine routes based on the ratings information stored in rating database 110.

Apple also walks through a process of gathering user-generated alerts for routes including accident reports, road closures, etc. Apple plans on taking all the alert and route rating data and providing it to other users in real-time to improve route directions. In other words, if your device is detected to be in the same location as a user-generated alert, Apple will be able to push that alert to your device or suggest an alternate route based on the incident that’s been reported:

In some implementations, rating database 110 can store information related to users’ ratings of routes and/or locations. For example, a user of mobile device 102 can interact with navigation engine 104 to provide ratings for routes and/or locations. The ratings information provided by the user can be transmitted to navigation service 106 through network 114. Navigation service 106 can store the ratings information in rating database 110 and route engine can determine routes based on the ratings information stored in rating database 110.

At the time of the acquisition announcement, Google hinted that it has plans to integrate Waze’s “great source of timely road corrections and updates” into its Google Maps products. Much like some of the features included in Apple’s patent application, Waze focuses on social elements and user reporting while collecting “real-time traffic & road info.” Waze maps include features for users to actively report events such as local traffic problems or gas prices and also offers Foursquare check-in integration.


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Jordan Kahn

July 4th

Apple

Apple patent application describes fingerprint sensor tech rumored for iPhone 5S

Apple-patent-fingerprint-sensor

There have been no shortage of fingerprint sensor rumors surfacing since Apple acquired Authentec last year. According to several reports from analysts, including the often reliable Ming-Chi Kuo and the not as reliable Topeka Capital analyst Brian White, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is likely to include a fingerprint sensor. We’ve discussed how it could certainly make a stand out hardware feature for Apple’s expected “S” upgrade, and today the US Patent and Trademark Office published patent applications that show Apple could be experimenting with exactly that (via PatentlyApple).

According to one aspect of the present disclosure, a biometric sensor assembly, such as a fingerprint sensor, comprises a substrate to which is mounted a die containing sensor circuitry and at least one conductive bezel. As used in the description and claims that follow, “bezel” means a unitary, substantially uniformly composed structure, most typically metal or conductive plastic. The die and the bezel are encased in a unitary encapsulation structure to protect those elements from mechanical, electrical, and environmental damage, yet with a portion of a surface of the die and the bezel exposed or at most thinly covered by the encapsulation or other coating material structure

Validity-Fingerprint-sensorThe patent describes a process of embedding a fingerprint sensor into the bezel of a device, which sounds a lot like the finger print sensors Validity was showing off embedded in Android devices at CES this year (pictured right). Apple notes in the patent application that the sensor would be “approximately the width of an average user’s fingertip, but only several pixels tall, typically between 1 and 8 pixels, and possibly as many as 16 pixels tall” when viewed from above.

Apple doesn’t get too into what functions for users the fingerprint sensor would provide, but does note that “the sensor captures a number of thin strips of the fingerprint as the finger is swiped, and the complete fingerprint is assembled in software for use in authentication.”

 In operation, a user swipes a finger over a surface of the sensor. The sensor captures a number of thin strips of the fingerprint as the finger is swiped, and the complete fingerprint is assembled in software for use in authentication. Such a sensor apparatus is typically preferred when a compact sensor is desired. However, the present disclosure is not limited to strip sensors. For example, with reference to FIG. 9, there is shown therein an embodiment 100 of an integrally molded bezel and sensor die wherein the sensor is of a type that is, when viewed from above, approximately the width and length of an average user’s fingertip. In operation, the user holds their fingertip in place over the sensor area, and the fingerprint is scanned, typically in raster fashion. Such sensors are typically referred to as area sensors

A fingerprint sensor could definitely make for a standout, exclusive feature for the iPhone 5S. The majority of big iOS 7 features that we know about won’t be limited to the upcoming device, and Apple typically includes a big new user-facing feature on its S upgrades apart from internal hardware tweaks (think Siri on the 4S and voice control and video recording on the 3GS).


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Jordan Kahn

June 21st

Apple

Mac

Apple patent application describes fingerprint sensor tech rumored for iPhone 5S

Apple-patent-fingerprint-sensor

There have been no shortage of fingerprint sensor rumors surfacing since Apple acquired Authentec last year. According to several reports from analysts, including the often reliable Ming-Chi Kuo and the not as reliable Topeka Capital analyst Brian White, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is likely to include a fingerprint sensor. We’ve discussed how it could certainly make a stand out hardware feature for Apple’s expected “S” upgrade, and today the US Patent and Trademark Office published patent applications that show Apple could be experimenting with exactly that (via PatentlyApple).

According to one aspect of the present disclosure, a biometric sensor assembly, such as a fingerprint sensor, comprises a substrate to which is mounted a die containing sensor circuitry and at least one conductive bezel. As used in the description and claims that follow, “bezel” means a unitary, substantially uniformly composed structure, most typically metal or conductive plastic. The die and the bezel are encased in a unitary encapsulation structure to protect those elements from mechanical, electrical, and environmental damage, yet with a portion of a surface of the die and the bezel exposed or at most thinly covered by the encapsulation or other coating material structure

Validity-Fingerprint-sensorThe patent describes a process of embedding a fingerprint sensor into the bezel of a device, which sounds a lot like the finger print sensors Validity was showing off embedded in Android devices at CES this year (pictured right). Apple notes in the patent application that the sensor would be “approximately the width of an average user’s fingertip, but only several pixels tall, typically between 1 and 8 pixels, and possibly as many as 16 pixels tall” when viewed from above.

Apple doesn’t get too into what functions for users the fingerprint sensor would provide, but does note that “the sensor captures a number of thin strips of the fingerprint as the finger is swiped, and the complete fingerprint is assembled in software for use in authentication.”

 In operation, a user swipes a finger over a surface of the sensor. The sensor captures a number of thin strips of the fingerprint as the finger is swiped, and the complete fingerprint is assembled in software for use in authentication. Such a sensor apparatus is typically preferred when a compact sensor is desired. However, the present disclosure is not limited to strip sensors. For example, with reference to FIG. 9, there is shown therein an embodiment 100 of an integrally molded bezel and sensor die wherein the sensor is of a type that is, when viewed from above, approximately the width and length of an average user’s fingertip. In operation, the user holds their fingertip in place over the sensor area, and the fingerprint is scanned, typically in raster fashion. Such sensors are typically referred to as area sensors

A fingerprint sensor could definitely make for a standout, exclusive feature for the iPhone 5S. The majority of big iOS 7 features that we know about won’t be limited to the upcoming device, and Apple typically includes a big new user-facing feature on its S upgrades apart from internal hardware tweaks (think Siri on the 4S and voice control and video recording on the 3GS).


Visit 9to5Mac to find more special coverage of AAPL Company, iOS Devices, and Patent.

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Jordan Kahn

June 21st

Apple

Mac

More Apple patents detail completely flexible devices that change as they bend

iPhone-Flexible display

These are certainly not the first flexible display related patent applications that we’ve seen from Apple. A few different Apple patent applications have received attention in recent months, including one for a slap wrist-style bracelet with a flexible display, and others for curved and flexible displays in various iOS device-like form factors. Today we’ve come across a couple of recently published Apple patent applications filed as early as September of last year that further show Apple’s work with flexible displays (via UnwiredView).

The first patent application, titled “Flexible Electronic Devices” is pretty straight forward: Apple is interested in methods of providing not only flexible displays but also flexible components like batteries, circuit boards, and the housing of the device itself. Apple describes a device that could respond accordingly depending on how a user was manipulating the flexible display. The patent applications provides examples such as the device shutting off and entering standby mode when folded, or a user answering a call or changing volume:

As an example, a flexible device may be foldable so that the device may be folded for storage (e.g., in a pocket) . User interface components may be configured to sense that a device has been folded and to cause the device to enter a standby or off mode. User interface components may be configured to sense inactive deformations of the device (e.g., a folded or open position of the device) or may be configured to detect active deformations of the device (e.g., active twisting, squeezing, bending or otherwise active deforming) of the device

iPhone-flexible-sidewall-displayUser interface components may be configured to initiate a response from the device to the detected twist such as turning the device on or off, entering active or standby mode, answering a cellular telephone call, starting a software application, changing a volume associated with audio or video playback of media, starting or stopping audio playback of media, etc. For example, twisting a flexible electronic device may change the operating mode of the device, may be interpreted by the device as a command to an electronic gaming system, may turn the device on or off, etc.

The second patent application, titled “Electronic devices with sidewall displays”, shows similar functionality related to flexible displays that could bend to form “front side displays and edge displays” that reveal various controls or become a second display of sorts (pictured above, right):

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Jordan Kahn

April 10th

Apple

Mac

Apple patents detail quick app access on lockscreen, touch sensitive home button & unlikely tablet/notebook hybrid

Patent-quick-access-lockscreen

We all know Apple, like most big tech companies, files a lot of patent applications for inventions that will likely never see the light of day. Today we get a look at a couple of its latest patent applications via documents published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and detailed by PatentlyApple.

On the more believable side, we get one that includes a new animated lock screen that would provide quick access to frequently used apps via a new animated feature accessible through a home button that could also recognize touch and pressure input (pictured above). Redesigning the lockscreen with new features has been a big request from many users, so this one isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility for future iOS releases:

Said another way, the user may bypass the sliding input or security screen by entering a predefined input using the home button 420 to enter a “quick access” mode of the mobile device in which certain applications may be immediately available to the user, regardless of whether a security wall may be enforced with respect to applications on the mobile device.

Apple-patent-notebook-tablet-hybridA little harder to swallow is another patent application, originally filed in Q3 2011, that shows Apple experimenting with the idea of hybrid notebook/tablet designs. We know Apple has experimented with bringing touch screens to MacBooks, with Steve Jobs back in 2010 calling the experience “ergonomically terrible.” It also doesn’t seem likely that Apple will get into tablets in its 13- to 17-inch notebook sizes anytime soon. A little easier to imagine is Apple perhaps releasing a dedicated keyboard accessory for iPad. From the patent application:

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Photo

Jordan Kahn

April 4th

Apple

Mac

Apple denied iPad mini trademark in the US

iPad-mini-logoBBC reported today that Apple was recently denied a trademark for “iPad mini” after authorities in the United States claimed the term was “merely descriptive.” Apple still has until July to convince the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but its official stance thus far according to a recently surfaced document is that iPad mini fails to “create a unique, incongruous, or non-descriptive meaning in relation to the goods being small handheld mobile devices comprising tablet computers capable of providing internet access.” In other words, “mini” simply describes a variation of the device, rather than a unique feature that differentiates it from the full-sized iPad.

An excerpt from the USPTO document:

The term “IPAD” is descriptive when applied to applicant’s goods because the prefix “I” denotes “internet.” According to the attached evidence, the letter “i” or “I” used as a prefix and would be understood by the purchasing public to refer to the Internet when used in relation to Internet-related products or services.  Applicant’s goods are identified as “capable of providing access to the Internet”.

The term “PAD” is also descriptive of the applied for goods. The term “pad” refers to a “pad computer” or “internet pad device”, terms used synonymously to refer to tablet computers, or “a complete computer contained in a touch screen.” Please see the attached dictionary definition. In addition, the attached excerpts from third party websites show descriptive use of the term “pad” in connection with tablet computers. This marketplace evidence shows that the term “pad” would be perceived by consumers as descriptive of “pad computers” with internet and interactive capability. Applicant’s goods are identified as “a handheld digital mobile electronic device comprising tablet computer”.

The term “MINI” in the applied for mark is also descriptive of a feature of applicant’s product. Specifically, the attached evidence shows this wording means “something that is distinctively smaller than other members of its type or class”.  See attached definition. The word “mini” has been held merely descriptive of goods that are produced and sold in miniature form.

The main request by the USPTO is that Apple added a disclaimer clarifying that it is only seeking the exclusive right to “MINI” as part of the entire iPad trademark. That would prevent claiming exclusive rights to the word mini, which the USPTO noted, “others may need to use to describe or show their goods or services in the marketplace.”

This isn’t the first time that Apple has run into hurdles related to its iPad trademark. It previously fought cases in both California and China with companies claiming to own rights to the iPad name.


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Photo

Jordan Kahn

April 1st

Apple

Mac

Apple takes a cue from users, invents packaging that doubles as iPhone/iPad dock

A number of Apple patents and applications have been published today, one of which details an interesting new design for the packaging of iOS devices that would also double as a stand or dock of sorts. The patent application was originally filed in May 2011, but it was published today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and detailed by PatentlyApple. The image above is pretty self-explanatory, showing iPod nano-like packaging with a removable lid and base that transform into a dock or stand for the device. It appears the dock would act as a permanent solution, with the image above showing room to accommodate a charging cable as well as small parts to hold the device snugly in place.

This is actually something we’ve seen before. Although many iPhone and iPad users have no problem dropping a decent amount of money on a dock, there are no shortage of users who have come up with innovative ways to turn the current iPhone and iPad packaging into a dock and or stand for free. Below is a video, courtesy of GottaBeMobile, showing an iPad mini box being transformed into a free docking station with very little effort:



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Photo

Jordan Kahn

November 8th

Apple

Mac

Apple takes a cue from users, invents packaging that doubles as iPhone/iPad dock

A number of Apple patents and applications have been published today, one of which details an interesting new design for the packaging of iOS devices that would also double as a stand or dock of sorts. The patent application was originally filed in May 2011, but it was published today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and detailed by PatentlyApple. The image above is pretty self-explanatory, showing iPod nano-like packaging with a removable lid and base that transform into a dock or stand for the device. It appears the dock would act as a permanent solution, with the image above showing room to accommodate a charging cable as well as small parts to hold the device snugly in place.

This is actually something we’ve seen before. Although many iPhone and iPad users have no problem dropping a decent amount of money on a dock, there are no shortage of users who have come up with innovative ways to turn the current iPhone and iPad packaging into a dock and or stand for free. Below is a video, courtesy of GottaBeMobile, showing an iPad mini box being transformed into a free docking station with very little effort:



Comments Off on Apple takes a cue from users, invents packaging that doubles as iPhone/iPad dock

Photo

Jordan Kahn

November 8th

Apple

Mac

PicPlz shutting down permanently on July 3rd, all photos to be deleted pre-fireworks

PicPlz shutting down permanently on July 3rd, all photos to be deleted

Already prepping to share oodles of horribly blurry and underexposed Independence Day photos via PicPlz? Go ahead and burst your own bubble, bub. The aforesaid photo sharing app / site has decided to throw in the towel, with a brief blurb posted on its site today describing that July 3rd will be its final day of operation. To quote:

"On July 3, 2012, picplz will shut down permanently and all photos and data will be deleted. We have provided download links for existing users to save their photos. Thank you for your support of picplz and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you."

Users are encouraged to login prior to that day in order to download their photos, including those ones of you shooting Instagram and Facebook Camera in the face. Violence isn't cool, but who are we judge how your grieve?

Continue reading PicPlz shutting down permanently on July 3rd, all photos to be deleted pre-fireworks

PicPlz shutting down permanently on July 3rd, all photos to be deleted pre-fireworks originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 02 Jun 2012 20:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink TechCrunch  |  sourcePicPlz  | Email this | Comments

Comments Off on PicPlz shutting down permanently on July 3rd, all photos to be deleted pre-fireworks

Photo

Darren Murph

June 3rd

Uncategorized

PicPlz shutting down permanently on July 3rd, all photos to be deleted pre-fireworks

PicPlz shutting down permanently on July 3rd, all photos to be deleted

Already prepping to share oodles of horribly blurry and underexposed Independence Day photos via PicPlz? Go ahead and burst your own bubble, bub. The aforesaid photo sharing app / site has decided to throw in the towel, with a brief blurb posted on its site today describing that July 3rd will be its final day of operation. To quote:

"On July 3, 2012, picplz will shut down permanently and all photos and data will be deleted. We have provided download links for existing users to save their photos. Thank you for your support of picplz and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you."

Users are encouraged to login prior to that day in order to download their photos, including those ones of you shooting Instagram and Facebook Camera in the face. Violence isn't cool, but who are we judge how your grieve?

Continue reading PicPlz shutting down permanently on July 3rd, all photos to be deleted pre-fireworks

PicPlz shutting down permanently on July 3rd, all photos to be deleted pre-fireworks originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 02 Jun 2012 20:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink TechCrunch  |  sourcePicPlz  | Email this | Comments

Comments Off on PicPlz shutting down permanently on July 3rd, all photos to be deleted pre-fireworks

Photo

Darren Murph

June 3rd

Uncategorized
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