The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published 20 patent applications on Thursday, January 31 that are assigned to Apple Inc. Some very intriguing upgrades to digital media collaboration systems and cash transaction networks are among the many pieces of intellectual property that Apple is hoping the USPTO will protect. Also included is an easy accessory port to improve iPad usage and a system for associating images with geographical locations for easier map indexing.
Ad-Hoc Cash Dispensing Network
U.S. Patent Application 20130031009
Digital payment methods let people carry on their daily business without using much cash, sometimes going a few days with debit or credit cards. However, not all businesses can accept these cards as the fees for processing credit card payments can sometimes be prohibitive. Also, cash is also helpful when trying to split a dinner check or otherwise transfer money for personal transactions between friends.
The network described in this patent application processes cash transactions between two parties without needing any actual money present. The first party sends a cash request to a cash-dispensing server, which verifies that the user has the cash in a linked account and forwards that cash digitally to a recipient. A linked account for the second party is credited with that amount. A service fee could be charged to the party requesting the fund transfer as well.
Claim 1 of this patent application seeks protection for:
“A method for transferring cash, comprising: receiving, by a cash dispensing server, a cash request from a client terminal of a requesting party, wherein the cash request identifies the location of the requesting party and an amount of cash requested; identifying, by the cash dispensing server, a providing party located near the requesting party; sending, by the cash dispensing server, the cash request to a client terminal of the providing party; receiving, by the cash dispensing server, an acceptance to the cash request from the client terminal of the providing party; crediting a first amount to an account of the providing party; and deducting a second amount from an account of the requesting party.”
Accessory Device with Magnetic Attachment
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130027867
The iPad is an amazing device for its touch screen functionality, but the large size of the screen takes up most of the practical space included in the device. Apple’s knowledge of this fact leads to this patent application, which is seeking protection for a magnetic port on the iPad. This port would allow accessory devices to connect to the device and pull away easily.
This proposed magnetic design differs from existing techniques that rely on mechanical fasteners as it’s lighter and does not detract so much from the iPad’s aesthetic appearance. This magnetic port is designed to accommodate accessories that can “releasably attach,” according to the patent application. This would include accessories like covers that are already widely available for the device. Claim 1 of this patent application states that Apple wants to protect:
“An accessory unit, comprising: a hinge span for attaching the accessory unit to a host unit having a display; and a flexible flap pivotally connected to the hinge span having size and shape in accordance with the display, the flap comprising: a first end located at the hinge span, a second end opposite the first end detectable by a sensor in the host unit when substantially all of the flap is in contact with the display in a closed configuration, the detection causing the host unit to alter a current operating state to one in accordance with the closed configuration, a first segment at the first end, a second segment at the second end detectable by the sensor in the closed configuration, and a folding region connecting the first and second segments that allows the first and second segments to fold independently of each other such that when the accessory unit is in a partially open configuration, the first segment remains in contact with the display and the second segment is folded away from the display to reveal a first portion of the display that is less than the entire display, wherein when the host unit determines that the accessory unit is in the partially open configuration, the host unit presents visual content only at the first portion of the display.”
Systems, Methods, and Computer-Readable Media for Managing Collaboration…
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130027404
Apple’s hardware has long had a reputation for being friendly to graphic designers. The system of data management laid out in this patent application would improve the ability of designers from geographically diverse areas to collaborate on the same project. Apple hopes that this new system will enable better collaboration across different devices, including laptops and tablet devices.
The system described here transmits data from the user interface on one device to a designated second device, generating a pixel array on the second device based on input from the user of the first device. This transmission of data could occur simultaneous with the input, allowing the second device’s user to see changes in real time. As claim 1 of this patent application describes, Apple is seeking to protect:
“A method for sharing graphical data comprising: receiving first user instructions with a first user interface of a first electronic device; generating a first input command based on the received first user instructions with a first graphics application on the first electronic device; transmitting the first input command from the first electronic device to a second electronic device; and processing the first input command with the first graphics application on the first electronic device to generate first pixel array data in a first canvas of the first electronic device.”
Depth Perception Device and System
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130027548
A camera may be better focused when the operator is given information about the distance of the subject from the camera lens. Auto-focus features that exist on cameras already use a number of sensing devices to detect the distance of the picture’s subject. These auto-focus devices detect reflections from certain signals, like infrared light or sound waves, to determine the actual distance of the subject.
This patent application seeks to protect a system of depth perception that uses laser frequencies to find the subject’s distance from the lens. The fan-shaped laser beam would sweep across the camera’s field of vision and pick up very precise information about the subject’s location, transmitting it to the camera. According to images attached to the patent application, it appears that this invention is being developed primarily for desktop computers.
As claim 1 states, Apple wants to protect:
“A system for determining a distance to a object comprising: a first image capturing device; and a first laser source configured to emit a first fan shaped laser beam to intersect at least a portion of a field of view of the image capturing device.”
Associating Digital Images with Waypoints
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130027427
A waypoint is a specific location somewhere on Earth that is expressed in terms of geographical coordinates. Although waypoints are often used on digital maps to designate the location of stores, offices or other buildings, looking at the waypoint for a natural location in the woods doesn’t tell the viewer much about the actual physical location.
The system described here would allow a user to take digital images of a specific location and upload them to a map server. Those images would be associated with the waypoint on the digital map so that they would appear when the waypoint is selected on the map. Information about when the image was taken can also be stored in the image file, providing for a chronological look at that waypoint across time.
Claim 1 of this patent application wants to protect:
“A non-transitory program storage device, readable by a processor and comprising instructions stored thereon to cause one or more processors to: receive a first set of digital images each of which has a known acquisition time; receive a second set of digital images, each image of which has a known acquisition time and a known acquisition location; overlay, onto a map image, waypoint identifiers corresponding to the known acquisition location of one or more of the second set of images; receive a first indication of a selection of a first of the waypoint identifiers; receive a second indication of a selection of one or more images from the first set of images; associate the selected one or more images from the first set of images with the first waypoint identifier based, at least in part, on the first and second received indications; and generate a trip-descriptor that includes the one or more images from the first set of images associated with the first waypoint identifier.”