This week, the US Patent and Trademark Office has published multiple newly granted Apple patents, which include proximity detector technology, Apple Store packaging, advanced haptics feedback, the rights to the MacBook Pro with Retina display design, and even a 3D version of OS X.
Plus, Samsung's reported wireless charging technology could threaten the invention described in Apple's 'Virtual Charging Area' patent. We bring you the latest on Apple patent news.
3D Mac OS X
Among the 36 patents published on Tuesday, Apple has won a patent for a 3D version of OS X. The patent, titled "Multi-Dimensional Application Environment" covers an operating system that could display intersecting surfaces that would define a three-dimensional environment, reports Patently Apple.
A second patent covers future active packaging that could be used to allow Apple to charge, sync and transfer data to multiple devices without having to remove them from their packaging.
A patent relating to haptic feedback also granted on Tuesday covers the use of the technology for a virtual keyboard. Haptic technology can be used to create 'textured feedback' by means of a small electrical stimulus that pushes back against the finger to create the sensation of physical touch. In February, the US Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent application also hinted that the company is working on a virtual keyboard.
Apple was also awarded three design patents, covering the MacBook Pro, an icon, and what is believed to be the MacBook Pro's battery outlay. Among the inventors listed are Apple's SVP of Industrial Design Sir Jony Ive.
Mounted shock sensor
For anyone planning to visit an Apple Store to repair a broken device that's secretly been dropped, be warned that Apple has been granted a patent for a mounted shock sensor that can determine whether a device has been dropped or subjected to a shock event that exceeded an impact threshold.
Also granted to Apple on Tuesday were a patent covering the proximity sensor found in the iPad and iPhone, adaptive audio feedback, memory management, reconstruction of lists in a document, language features in a text to speech engine, automatic image cropping, real time video process control using gestures, a keyboard with increased control of backlit keys, illumination of an input device and many more. For the full list, click here.
The race is on
Meanwhile, Samsung has developed a wireless charging technology that could threaten the invention described in Apple's 'Virtual Charging Area' patent. The new invention could trigger a race between the two companies to release wireless charging first, reports Patently Apple, which believes that Samsung will launch the technology first but that Apple will be much more advanced when it arrives at a later date.
"Apple's solution will ultimately be superior if their patent pending invention fulfills its vision," the report says, adding that, despite this, it will boil down to who's first to market. "It's a way to show that your competition is falling behind."