Apple Plans Improvement to Video Playback Quality

By Steve Brachmann
February 25, 2013

On Thursday, February 31, 2013, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published 23 patent applications filed by California electronics development and manufacturing leader Apple Inc. Efficiency seems to be a buzz word this week, as many of the patent applications seek protections for methods of either more efficient component manufacturing or different computer-based methods of using system resources effectively, including IP address allocation. Also, one notable digital media patent application shows how Apple plans to improve video playback quality by reducing the bumps and jostles of handheld recording.

Motion-Based Video Stabilization
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130044228

Camera lenses for video recording are practically ubiquitous among electronic devices manufactured today. These tools make up a large part of a device’s functionality, and many users spend a lot of time taking photos and video and uploading them to social networks or website servers like YouTube. Although these cameras are high quality and may include many megapixels, which increases the clarity of the resulting image, video captured on these devices typically shows a lot of unwanted camera motion, as the device is typically held in a user’s hands and not placed in a tripod.

Apple’s system of reducing this unwanted motion in video relies on the presence of gyroscopes within the device. Motion data from the gyroscope is attached to individual frames of video. The device uses the motion data from the gyroscope to detect when excessive motion exists between frames, and adjusts the image parameters to account for these issues.

Claim 1 of this Apple patent application describes:

“A motion sensor-based video stabilization method, comprising: obtaining, by a video capture device, a video sequence having a plurality of sequential images, each of the plurality of sequential images associated with one or more image capture parameter values, the image capture parameters based on the video capture device; obtaining motion data from the video capture device for each of the plurality of sequential images; estimating unwanted motion of the video capture device for each of the plurality of sequential images based on the motion data; modifying each of the plurality of sequential images to remove the estimated unwanted motion based on the motion data and the image capture parameter values associated with each of the plurality of sequential images; and storing each of the modified plurality of sequential images in a memory.”

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Multi-Wire Cutting for Efficient Magnet Machining
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130043218

The use of magnets in electronic devices has grown significantly in recent years, and with handheld devices taking up a significant portion of the market, the ability to produce small magnets is very valuable. In some cases, magnets of no longer than 0.8 millimeters are preferred. However, current methods of producing raw earth magnets of that size are very costly as most of the magnet material becomes waste during production.

Apple’s innovative system of magnet production, laid out in this patent application, aims to improve current methods of wire electrical discharge machining (WEDM) of magnets. Instead of the single wire used in current WEDM techniques, this machining method uses multiple wires for more precise cuts and less waste. The resulting process is also much more time-efficient than WEDM or other techniques.

Claim 1 of this patent application seeks legal protection for:

“A method for cutting a workpiece into a plurality of pieces, the method comprising: receiving a first workpiece; fixing the first workpiece to a workpiece holder; in a first cutting operation, simultaneously cutting the first workpiece in a first direction with a plurality of wires, wherein at least some of the plurality of wires are aligned anti-parallel with others of the plurality of wires; replacing the first workpiece with a second workpiece immediately after the first cutting operation is complete; and in a second cutting operation, using the plurality of wires to simultaneously cut the second workpiece in a second direction.”

Efficient Methods for Terminating Applications
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130047167

Many computer owners do not power down their systems the way they should, usually for a couple of reasons. Often, properly shutting down a computer system is incredibly time-consuming; the operating system receives the shutdown command and has to interact with every single application program currently running, turning them off one by one. In some cases, the computer may require a user to close out a program before continuing with the shutdown, which can frustrate users who just want the system to turn off.

This new system for efficiently terminating computer applications works by prioritizing applications that are currently running by analyzing their operating state. Programs that are stable and safe to exit are closed immediately, while applications that are running operations are allowed to finish before being closed down. This requires less user interaction and can process multiple program shutdowns at once, speeding the whole shutdown event.

In this patent application, Claim 1 seeks protection for:

“A machine-implemented method, comprising: in response to a request for exiting from an operating environment of a data processing system, an operating system examining an operating state associated with an application running within the operating environment, the operating state being stored at a predetermined memory location; wherein when the application enters a critical section, the application causes the updating of the operating state stored at the predetermined memory location to indicate that the application is unsafe for sudden termination, and wherein when the application exits from the critical section, the application causes the updating of the operating state stored at the predetermined memory location to indicate that the application is safe for sudden termination; the operating system immediately terminating the application if the operating state associated with the application indicates that the application is safe for a sudden termination; and the operating system deferring terminating the application if the operating state associated with the application indicates that the application is unsafe for the sudden termination.”

Creating and Viewing Digital Note Cards
U.S. Patent Application No. 2013004

Digital tablet readers, like the iPad, are quickly becoming the domain of educational publishers and other nonfiction texts that users may want to make notes on. In a physical copy of a book, owners are able to write directly on the page or highlight important text with markers. Slowly, many developments have been made to eBook reading software that allows users to mimic many of these practices digitally; for instance, a text may be annotated with custom notes that a user types and attaches to a section of text.

Apple has devised a new computer-based system of creating digital note cards from highlighted eBook text. A user opens an eBook file and selects a certain portion of text through the touchscreen, and then chooses to copy that text onto a note card that can be accessed later. The appearance of these note cards mimics a typical index card, and the schematic drawings for this application suggest that users can flip through note cards by tapping and swiping the touchscreen with their finger.

As Claim 1 describes, Apple is seeking to protect:

“A method for displaying a digital note card, the method comprising: displaying content from an electronic book in a graphical user interface; receiving first input highlighting a portion of the content; receiving second input creating a note, the note including user generated content; creating a first digital note card, where one side of the first digital note card includes the highlighted text, and the other side of the first digital note card includes the note; and displaying, in the graphical user interface, the first digital note card.”

Dynamic Allocation of Host IP Addresses
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130044719

The proliferation of mobile wireless technologies with access to the Internet has fueled wireless networking improvements, as consumers demand to be able to use their mobile device and connect to the Internet in many places. Now more than ever, wireless Internet access points are available throughout cities and in specific businesses, like cafés. However, the mobile device must be assigned a home IP address to move between access points. Current methods of assigning IP addresses are inefficient and can lead to disruptions in wireless communication when traveling between access points.

This patent application describes a system of allocating host IP addresses to mobile devices while connected to foreign networks. This would occur dynamically when a mobile device connects to the foreign network. Once the IP address is assigned using these methods, a user can stay connected to the network even when changing access points because of proximity and signal.

Claim 23 (claims 1 through 22 canceled) of this patent application seeks protection for:

“A method for allocating an IP address to a mobile node, comprising: the mobile node sending a binding update message to a home agent, wherein the binding update message requests allocation of a home IP address for the mobile node, wherein said sending is performed while the mobile node roams on a foreign network from a home network of the mobile node; and the mobile node receiving the home IP address for the mobile node, wherein said receiving is performed in response to the home agent allocating the home IP address in response to the binding update message.”

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients and is available for research projects and freelance work.

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