Apple Expands Patent Portfolio Relating to GarageBand

By Gene Quinn
October 27, 2009

Apple was issued US Patent No. 7,608,775 earlier today relating to a method of changing time duration guiding a note along a beat ruler in a Graphical User Interface (GUI).  This patent application was filed on January 7, 2005, the same day that several other GarageBand patent applications were filed, including US Patent No. 7,603,623, relating to methods to automatically correct timing of recorded audio in a  GUI, which was issued just two weeks ago on October 13, 2009. According to USA Today, “Apple’s GarageBand is far and away the most popular program for creating and recording music on the computer, since it’s free and shipped with every new Mac.”  GarageBand does come free with every Apple computer, and is a part of the iLife suite.  If you have a Mac and do not have iLife you can download iLife ’09 for $79.

A search of the United States Patent and Trademark database looking for patents assigned to Apple and which contain the term “garageband” finds three issued U.S. patents, and six US Patent Applications.  One of the pending patent applications, US Patent Application No. 20090165634 is interesting, relating to methods for enabling users to have improved karaoke experiences by providing real-time feedback to those users while they are still performing karaoke. In this method a display is used to edit components of a song, such as adding lyrics, and is controlled by a music editing application, such as GarageBand. Time will tell if this patent issues. In the meantime the Apple GarageBand patent portfolio includes…

Methods and systems for providing musical interfaces
US Patent No. 7,608,775
Issued October 27, 2009

From the Summary of the Invention:

Methods of changing time duration guiding a note along a beat ruler in a graphical user interface (“GUI”) for staff-based musical notation and a computer readable medium containing a program code for changing duration of time and guiding a note along a beat ruler are disclosed. Methods may simplify existing workflow for the GUI so that it requires fewer mouse clicks and involves less mouse travel. First, a notation window with at least one musical staff and at least one musical sign is displayed on a display device. The musical sign may be a musical note, a sign representing a pedal, a clef, or any other musical sign. Next, a selection of the musical sign to change a time duration is received. Subsequently, a time duration indicator at a selected musical sign is displayed (e.g. the duration indicator is displayed immediately adjacent to the selected musical sign or in some other manner relative to the selected musical sign to appear associated with the selected musical sign). Further, a user manipulation (e.g. through the movement of a moveable cursor on the display device) of the time duration indicator to adjust the time duration of the selected musical sign is received. The dynamically changed time duration indicator is displayed while receiving the user manipulation.

User interface to automatically correct timing in playback for audio recordings
US Patent No. 7,603,623
Issued October 13, 2009

From the Summary of the Invention:

Methods to automatically correct timing of recorded audio in a graphical user interface (“GUI”) and a computer readable medium containing a program code to correct timing of recorded audio are disclosed. One or more controls to adjust a resolution of timing for correction of the audio and to adjust a degree of correction are displayed. The resolution of timing for correction defines beats on a grid. The degree of correction defines, in one embodiment, a maximum time interval for correction of the audio around each beat along the grid. The time interval for correction of the audio is mapped to the degree of correction. Mapping of the time interval to the degree of correction may be performed through a non-linear function, linear function, or a combination thereof. For one embodiment, the non-linear function to perform mapping includes at least one step. For one embodiment, a setting of a control to adjust resolution of timing is affected by the control to adjust the degree of correction.

Next, a user manipulation of at least one control to select a desired resolution of timing for correction and a desired degree of correction is received. Subsequently, correction of timing is performed according to the selected resolution and the selected degree of correction. For one embodiment, correction of timing includes detecting a portion of an audio data stream and aligning the portion of the audio data stream to the beat on the grid. For one embodiment, detecting the portion of the audio data stream includes detecting a position of a transient in the portion of the audio data stream relative to the beat on the grid. For another embodiment, detecting a portion of the audio data stream includes detecting a centrum of energy of the portion of the audio data stream relative to the beat on the grid. The aligning of the portion of the audio data stream to the beat on the grid includes compressing or stretching a portion of the audio stream depending on a distance (e.g. in time) between two adjacent portions of the audio data stream relative to a distance between respective adjacent beats on the grid. The portion of the audio data stream is compressed if the distance between two adjacent portions of the audio data stream is larger than the distance between the respective adjacent beats on the grid. The portion of the audio data stream is stretched if the distance between two adjacent portions of the audio data stream is smaller than the distance between the respective adjacent beats on the grid.

Methods and systems for providing musical interfaces
US Patent No. 7,453,035
Issued November 18, 2008

From the Summary of the Invention:

Exemplary embodiments of methods and systems for providing musical interfaces are disclosed. Methods of selecting a portion of an input of a musical instrument within a display window in a graphical user interface for staff-based musical notation and a system having a computer readable medium containing a program code for selecting the portion of the input of the musical instrument are described below. Methods may simplify existing workflow so that it requires fewer mouse clicks and involves less mouse travel. First, an octave picker on the input of the musical instrument is displayed within the display window. The octave picker may extend over one or more octaves over a portion of the input of the musical instrument. Next, the octave picker is moved to a desired portion on the input of the musical instrument. Further, an enlarged view of at least the desired portion of the input of the musical instrument is displayed. For one embodiment, the octave picker is moved to the desired portion after receiving selection of the desired portion on the input of the musical instrument. For another embodiment, the octave picker is moved to the desired portion after receiving selection and a user manipulation of the octave picker. For an embodiment, the octave picker is displayed over the desired portion on the input of the musical instrument. For one embodiment, the octave picker highlights the portion of the input of the musical instrument to indicate, for example, the number of keys visible to the user.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

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There are currently 1 Comment comments.

  1. Gena777 November 1, 2009 8:45 pm

    The inventiveness and utility of these patent applications amply demonstrate that smart marketing is not the only reason Apple is winning the popularity contest.

    http://www.GeneralPatent.com