Bridging the Apple Community and Keeping Tabs on the Rumor Mill.

Tag Archive for ‘Apple’ rss

Tesla Motors CEO: Acquisition by Apple 'Very Unlikely'

One of the persistent (if odd) rumors that’s been floating around lately is that Apple plans to buy the Tesla motor company as a part of its supposed drive to create the “iCar,” but if it does, Tesla isn’t telling. Yet in an interview with Bloombe…

Apple Insists on Keeping User Data Private, and It's Hurting iAd Sales

Maintaining the privacy of users has always been a major concern at Apple, to the point that it’s apparently affecting the success of the Cupertino giant’s iAd business, reports AdAge. Ad buyers say Apple is “downright stingy” with its customer informa…

Apple Sold More iDevices and Macs Than All Windows PC Sales Last Quarter

It’s often said that we live in a “post-PC” world, but few reports verify the truth of that statement quite like analyst Benedict Evans’ recent research. During the holiday quarter, according to Evans, Apple achieved higher sales numbers with combined …

Americans Hoarding More than $13.4 Billion in Old Smartphones

When you bought your last iPhone, did you throw the last one into a kitchen drawer and forget about it? If so, you’re not the only one. According to OnePoll’s “Mobile Mountain Study” for SellCell.com conducted last month (via Cult of Mac), around 50 pe…

Photos of Alleged Prototype of Bigger, Thinner iPhone 6 Surface

It’s that time of the iPhone development cycle again. The alleged first images of the prototype for the new iPhone 6 are gracing the pages of MacRumors today, and yes, they’re shot in the same blurry style normally reserved for shots of UFOs and Bigfoo…

What the 'iPen' Patent Can Tell Us About Apple's Next Idea

Through my tireless efforts to find new and interesting topics with which to entertain you each week, I happen across lots of patents. Some are absurd, many are dull and dense, but for the most part, the one thing they have in common is that they’re nearly impossible to extrapolate.

There have been loads of exciting Apple patents over the years that have made headlines and got us all talking, but few have them have ever really panned out — countless concepts that have never made it out of the laboratory. In fact, I can’t think of single one that actually foretold a shipping product (at least not in any real or concrete way).

That’s just the way the system is structured. Any idea that can be properly explained through a series of crude diagrams and impervious rhetoric can be patented, and if the Samsung court battles have taught us anything, it’s that logic is applied later. In Apple’s case, most of its recognizable patents have actually surfaced after we’ve seen the product; for example, the patent for Touch ID didn’t appear until November (several weeks after the iPhone 5s landed), despite being applied for in March. And original iPhone patents were still being awarded years after its release.

Still, they make for fascinating reading. At the very least, it’s a peek into the Cupertino development process, a rare chance to see what the company is working on between revolutions. For example, in December, Apple was granted a patent for a “Curved touch sensor” that consists of “depositing and patterning a conductive thin film on a flexible substrate to form at least one touch sensor pattern, while the flexible substrate is in a flat state and wherein the flexible substrate is a glass substrate.” (Honestly, that was the clearest description I could find.)

It would seem that this speaks directly to Ive’s work on either a curved iPhone or iWatch. The only problem with that theory is this patent application was originally filed in 2010. So, while it could very well portend the imminent release of a new device, the timing of this particular filing is completely coincidental.

But it does mean that Apple is constantly a step ahead with its innovation. If a larger, curved iPhone does come out this year, some will see it as playing catchup to the likes of Samsung and LG, but that’s not how Apple operates. It studies, experiments, fails, rebuilds and perfects, only releasing something when it’s right.

And patents are just a small glimpse into that process.

Another recent set of filings that have caused something of a stir centers around a supposed iPen. Last week, the always-thorough Patently Apple published an extensive report on the newest piece of the puzzle, a European filing for a “modular iPen design that would allow users to choose different modules for different tasks.”

Now, we know Steve Jobs passionately hated styluses, but the technology certainly presents some potential. In the supporting documents, Apple illustrates a rather fascinating concept, with interchangeable pieces that transform the stylus from a pen to a camera, voice recorder, laser pointer, projector and, perhaps most interesting, a gesture wand. As Patently Apple writes:

“Apple notes in their patent filing that the gyro/accelerometer could also be used to detect motion in the form of stylus based air gestures. … The in-air gestures made with the use of the stylus would be acknowledged as an input that could, for example, translate to a command of turning a page of a manual or book or to transition one presentation slide to the next. Apple also notes that in-air gestures could also act as a mouse replacement in certain instances.”

I know what you’re thinking. But then again, there has been a lot of talk lately about Apple entering “new categories,” sometime this year, with Tim Cook reiterating his own coy claims in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week: “There will be new categories and we’re working on some great stuff. We’re not ready to talk about it. … I think no one reasonable would say they’re not a new category.”

It’s that last part that intrigues me most. Cook seems to imply that whatever Apple is working on is at least in part related to an existing product–or else those unreasonable people wouldn’t have much to support the argument that it doesn’t create a new category. So maybe there’s some truth to those rumors of a 12- to 13-inch iPad we keep reading.

An iPad any larger than the current Air will be extremely difficult to operate in the way we’re used to. No matter how light it is, holding it while trying to get any actual work done will pretty much be an impossibility — so there’s a good chance it will utilize some kind of new input device. And maybe an iPen really is the best way to go.

The stylus has matured quite a bit since Jobs famously panned it during the iPhone introduction, and if anything there’s more of a demand for them now than before we started using Multitouch screens. A modular stylus coupled with a pro tablet would be a far greater thing than either FiftyThree’s Pencil or Samsung’s S Pen. When you read through Patently Apple’s full report, you’ll see how it could work in a very Apple-like way, literally adapting to your needs as they change.

But then again, it’s just a patent. 

Find Michael Simon on Twitter or App.net @morlium

On Its Own, iTunes Would Rank as 130 in the Fortune 500

The story goes that Apple originally intended for iTunes to be a “break-even” business, but the popular music and video service has proven more successful than those earliest projections could have dreamed of. Indeed, based on Asymco’s calculations (vi…

iWatch 'Simpler' Than Previous Rumors Claim, Report Says

The rumors popping up over the past few months have increasingly made the so-called “iWatch” sound like the wonder product many of us have been waiting for from Cupertino for years, but a new report from Networkworld (via MobiHealthNews) suggests that …

Popular Android Theme App Removed After iOS 7 Lookalike Irks Apple

If you’ve ever wanted a clear idea of how opposed Apple is to the idea of customizable interfaces, consider the case of poor Themer, which was pulled from Google Play earlier this month following a copyright claim from Apple. The offender? According to TechCrunch, it’s a little Android skin called Seven that mimicked the look of Apple’s latest mobile operating system for devotees of Cupertino’s mobile arch rival.

Fair enough, but shutting down the entire app seems a bit drastic (and it hardly seems like the best way to win over new iPhone users). Seven, which looks well-designed based on screenshots from Lifehacker’s coverage back in October, was but one of the 200 themes available through the app. The app appealed to users who loved Android’s customization features (i.e., its ability to do things like this) and the simplicity of Jony Ive’s new look for iOS.

Source: Lifehacker

And it’s clearly Google that’s behind the app removal, says Themer co-founder and CEO Ashvin Dhingra. “We immediately removed [the Seven] theme and thought that, at worst, Themer would be back on Play in a few days,” Dhingra told TechCrunch. “But now a week later, we’re facing the possibility that a few days might turn into a few weeks.”

On the bright side, Apple itself doesn’t sound like it was as heavy-handed as the circumstances might suggest. “We’ve spoken to legal representatives from Apple (who have been very nice, reasonable, and helpful), and they have no remaining concerns,” said Dhingra. “But apparently, Google has a process for these things, and there’s nothing we can do to accelerate that process. Unfortunately, we still have not heard from anyone at Google.”

It’s possible, oddly enough, that the swift removal and total lack of communication from Google despite Themer’s compliance has a lot to do with the “Wild West” approach Google assumes with Google Play, as it doesn’t have the dedicated approval team that Apple does. That’s great when devs just want to get an app on the store, but the practice’s weaknesses show up in cases like this. As of right now, there’s no telling when Android users will see Themer again–and that’s bad for both Dhingra’s team and Apple’s image.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

Current iOS 7 Builds All But Announce New Apple TV Hardware on the Way

Rumors have been circulating for some time that we’ll see an update to the Apple TV, but today marks the first appearance of what looks like proof that a hardware refresh is on the way. As 9to5Mac notes, it’s a simple thing, really–an inconspicuous me…

Apple Reportedly Ready for Production of Around 200 Million Sapphire Displays

Get ready for a tougher iPhone. Word came in today via 9to5Mac that Apple’s partner GT Advanced had received equipment for sapphire glass manufacturing and testing at its new plant in Arizona, and the whole setup is allegedly capable of putting out bet…

Steve Jobs Reportedly Wanted the Sony Vaio to Run Mac OS

These days, the very thought of finding Mac OS X on a machine that wasn’t designed by the folks in Cupertino seems a bit like heresy. But according to an interview with former Sony president Kunitake Ando, reports Japanese journalist Noboyuki Hayashi (…

Samsung Asks Olympic Athletes to Cover Up Apple Logos During Opening Ceremony

Isn’t the entire point of the Olympics to bring together diverse groups and let them participate in friendly competition? That’s not how Samsung sees it, apparently, as the South Korean tech giant has asked all participating athletes to cover up Apple …

Rumor: Apple Hires 'Sleep Scientist' to Help iWatch Team

We’ve heard before that Apple plans to place a lot of emphasis on health monitoring with its upcoming iWatch, and each new bit of news seems to confirm it. As 9to5Mac reports, the latest proof seems to come from Apple’s alleged hiring of Roy J.E.M. Ray…

Rumor: Apple Hires 'Sleep Scientist' to Help iWatch Team

We’ve heard before that Apple plans to place a lot of emphasis on health monitoring with its upcoming iWatch, and each new bit of news seems to confirm it. As 9to5Mac reports, the latest proof seems to come from Apple’s alleged hiring of Roy J.E.M. Ray…

North Korea's Red Star OS is Heavily 'Inspired' by Mac OS X

It’s not entirely clear what they’re teaching people over in North Korea, but it certainly isn’t innovation. Computerworld managed to get a hold of screenshots of the third version of the secretive communist country’s homemade Linux-based operating sys…

North Korea's Red Star OS is Heavily 'Inspired' by Mac OS X

It’s not entirely clear what they’re teaching people over in North Korea, but it certainly isn’t innovation. Computerworld managed to get a hold of screenshots of the third version of the secretive communist country’s homemade Linux-based operating sys…

Pebble Launches Smartwatch App Store for iOS

The folks over at Pebble know the iWatch is coming, but that isn’t stopping them from delivering a great experience for the many fans of its successful smartwatch. And with today’s launch of the dedicated app store for the device we first heard about b…

Pebble Launches Smartwatch App Store for iOS

The folks over at Pebble know the iWatch is coming, but that isn’t stopping them from delivering a great experience for the many fans of its successful smartwatch. And with today’s launch of the dedicated app store for the device we first heard about b…

Steve Jobs Biographer: Apple Better at 'Execution' Than Google, Not Innovation

Remember Walter Isaacson, the guy who wrote that bestselling biography of Steve Jobs that seemed to be everywhere in the winter of 2011-2012? Isaacson once again found himself in the spotlight earlier this month when he argued in an interview with CNBC…

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