New filing seen as proof of Apple cell phone

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
A recent Apple Computer patent filing for a multi-functional handheld device is proof that the company has greater ambitions such as a smart cell phone, one Wall Street Analyst says.



The March 2006 filing, published Thursday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, offers broad illustrations and descriptions of several potential hand held devices that each contain multiple touch sensing devices.



Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research, said in a research note on Friday that he believes Apple is describing a device that may include the ability to switch between multiple functions such as a cell phone, PDA, music player, video player, game player, digital camera, GPS, handtop and remote control.



"While this is a broad patent application covering a wide variety of areas (not surprising as it was likely reviewed and co-authored by Apple legal), we believe it represents the fundamental basis and technology behind Apple's cell phone efforts," he wrote. "As shown in the schematics (Figure 1 and Figure 2) included in Apple's application, we believe the device will have a candy bar form factor (as opposed to flip phone) with iPod like functionality, including a clickwheel."



In the recent filing, Apple engineers say "the touch sensing devices may for example be selected from touch panels, touch screens or touch sensitive housings." Meanwhile, another part of the invention relates to "a method for operating a handheld device. The method includes determining if a user is touching the handheld device. The method also includes determining the user based on the user's touch."



Wu said he remains upbeat on Apple's prospects in building a material cell phone business given its strong brand name, loyal customer base, and unique click-wheel user experience. "Should Apple gain 1 percent share in a billion unit [cell phone] market, we believe that could amount to a $2 billion opportunity, assuming around 10 million units at a $200 average selling price, but not including potential services and accessories revenue," he wrote.







Earlier this week, Wu said his research indicated that an Apple-designed smart phone had moved from concept to prototype and recently progressed to near completion as a production unit







"We believe this smart phone has been in development for over 12 months and has overcome substantial challenges including design, interference, battery life and other technical glitches," the analyst told his clients. He said the phone would sport an iPod nano-like candy bar form factor and come in three colors."



Wu maintains a Buy rating on Apple shares with a price target of $91.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 89
    Why is it that on patent applications the drawings are always rubbish.
  • Reply 2 of 89
    But my contract with Cingular isn't up until January
  • Reply 3 of 89
    To keep the copycats at bay for a little while?
  • Reply 4 of 89
    i don't want an iPhone. i barely use my cell..

    i want a widescreen touchcreen wifi iPod.
  • Reply 5 of 89
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    I don't see this as proof, Apple applies for a lot of patents that they don't pursue. If patents were proof of a product in the making, I think we would would have seen a tablet Mac by now.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JTBLQ


    i don't want an iPhone. i barely use my cell..

    i want a widescreen touchcreen wifi iPod.



    I don't think those products are mutually exclusive, as in, its not as if an iPhone is going to mean that a separate iPod won't be made.
  • Reply 6 of 89
    This patent is interesting because Apple is the kind of company that does not like to bloat its software and hardware with unnecessary features. It would seem more Apple-like to make individual devices, each with their own particular function.
  • Reply 7 of 89
    irelandireland Posts: 17,552member
    I would buy an iPhone for the same simple reason that others will buy one too, nobody want to carry around two devices, AND people tend to presume if Apple makes a cellphone that it will be both easy to use and cool. There's no cool cellphone out there that would pass the Apple ease of use seal of approval IMHNSHO.
  • Reply 8 of 89
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,491member
    AI has caught up with us. I posted this yesterday.
  • Reply 9 of 89
    "Honey? Where's the remote... I mean iPod...uh, I mean iPhone...?"
  • Reply 10 of 89
    From the patents it's pretty clear that Apple are going to release a single device to cover all of the areas of expectation - iPod - sure, it's an iPod: hold it in two or one hand in an upright position and touch the screen - a scroll wheel appears and you can play your music. iPhone - sure, it's an iPhone: hold it in two or one hand in an upright position and flick a switch - now touch the screen and it's a phone. iRemote - sure, it's an iRemote... iPod Video - sure, it's an iPod Video: hold it in it's lengthwise position and it's ready to play widescreen movies. And so on.



    Apple has fooled everyone - we're all thinking hardware when the real genius will be the software of this thing! Limited mechanical parts, limited switches... and that's the clue!



    I'm betting that Apple will release one device that does everything and it's all run by a scaled down version of OS X. It all makes perfect sense now.



    But hey, I could be wrong - stranger things have happened!



  • Reply 11 of 89
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross


    AI has caught up with us. I posted this yesterday.



    Yeah, I wondered when they were finally going to pick this up.



    By the way, a multi-function device could be made a lot better with the right innovation. Previous devices have failed to provide easy control over making the device do what you want it to quickly. It's annoying to have to go through any sort of menu system to get your device to become what you want it to (e.g. calculator on your cell phone).



    That's one of the greatest things about Dashboard (though not truly an Apple innovation, integrating it into the OS brought an invaluable feature to the masses), it allows your computer to quickly become the machine that you need it to be, with the push of a single key (e.g. calculator, weather service, etc.)



    If Apple does release a multi-function device, it is my bet that there will be some interesting innovation centering around the way the device quickly becomes the device you're trying to use at that moment.





    EDIT: My prediction may seem irrelevant considering #11 above, I was just too slow
  • Reply 12 of 89
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross


    AI has caught up with us. I posted this yesterday.



    Where? I didn't see it pop up in any thread I am subscribed to.
  • Reply 14 of 89
    Not too slow or irrelevant - Just a different path to the same destination



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdj21ya


    Yeah, I wondered when they were finally going to pick this up.



    By the way, a multi-function device could be made a lot better with the right innovation. Previous devices have failed to provide easy control over making the device do what you want it to quickly. It's annoying to have to go through any sort of menu system to get your device to become what you want it to (e.g. calculator on your cell phone).



    That's one of the greatest things about Dashboard (though not truly an Apple innovation, integrating it into the OS brought an invaluable feature to the masses), it allows your computer to quickly become the machine that you need it to be, with the push of a single key (e.g. calculator, weather service, etc.)



    If Apple does release a multi-function device, it is my bet that there will be some interesting innovation centering around the way the device quickly becomes the device you're trying to use at that moment.





    EDIT: My prediction may seem irrelevant considering #11 above, I was just too slow



  • Reply 15 of 89
    This may become the GOD OF ALL GADGETS!!! ...If they get this right!



    I really hope they can get a lot of "desktop-like" OS in there! There certaintly is potential here! And think of eventuel upgrades in the years to come!
  • Reply 16 of 89
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdj21ya


    Yeah, I wondered when they were finally going to pick this up.



    By the way, a multi-function device could be made a lot better with the right innovation. Previous devices have failed to provide easy control over making the device do what you want it to quickly. It's annoying to have to go through any sort of menu system to get your device to become what you want it to (e.g. calculator on your cell phone).



    That's one of the greatest things about Dashboard (though not truly an Apple innovation, integrating it into the OS brought an invaluable feature to the masses), it allows your computer to quickly become the machine that you need it to be, with the push of a single key (e.g. calculator, weather service, etc.)



    If Apple does release a multi-function device, it is my bet that there will be some interesting innovation centering around the way the device quickly becomes the device you're trying to use at that moment.





    EDIT: My prediction may seem irrelevant considering #11 above, I was just too slow



    Now that's quite a cool idea. Screw menus to dig through to find something. Just press a (virtual) button and you get this Dashboard-esque interface allowing you to select the function you need. That is sweet.
  • Reply 17 of 89
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by xUKHCx


    Why is it that on patent applications the drawings are always rubbish.



    There are strict standards that patent drawings must adhear to. Basically, drawings are ment to be functional and not stylish so that whats being patented is legally undisputable. A patent drawing is a legal document, not an illustration the way you and I know it.
  • Reply 18 of 89
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    So this device is basically all screen and will rely on the display to mimic different devices. In iPod mode the top half would show the artist, album, title, etc. and the bottom half would show a virtual scrollwheel. Switch to Phone mode and the top half shows information such as phone number, signal strength, etc and the scrollwheel is replaced with a virtual keypad. In PDA mode most of the screen is used for data entry and display with just a few icons at the bottom. The screen can replicate any device virtually. Apple has been against integrating all of these features together because it tends to make things very complicated and cumbersome. This approach fixes that as you only see one "device" at a time.



    Apple has been said to have been working on something bigger than the iPod for the past two years. I don't think we will see this next week but more likely in late October for the 5th anniversary of the iPod or in January at Macworld if it's not ready. Something big is coming and I think this is it.
  • Reply 19 of 89
    I hope that Apple is actually planning on releasing such a device and not just building a patent fence around the iPod. Between this device and a MBP, I could truly be a mobile warrior (perhaps even an Army of One™).



    Can you imagine the chairs flying around Redmond if ole' Ballmer gets even the slightest hint that might be for real? Steve Jobs is brilliant to taunt Ballmer into entering the MP3 market, let him commit to a device and actually get it into production, and then drop the iBOMB on him. Balllmer will look like such an idiot for trying to compete in this space with Apple that no one else will want to try after this.



    Settling the patent cases against Creative and whoever that nobody was on the east coast was another stroke of brilliance on Steve's part, because now there are no clouds hanging over the new product and lots of patents to protect it against other wannabes. Eat that Creative!
  • Reply 20 of 89
    While watching the size of the HDs in iPods grow over the years I've been thinking about the neat things Apple could do if there was a stripped down version of OS X placed in it. In terms of some (but not all) iLife apps, Address Book, iCal, etc. there is a lot of opportunity. The potential of migration of existing apps by third party developers who already have some neat OS X apps is huge. Throw in a phone and a high resolution camera (feeding into iPhoto) brings the beast to life and will scare MS no end - their new MP3 player will die on the vine, or rather in warehouses.



    I wouldn't be surprised to see APple actually come out with several versions - maybe with & without the phone feature, or a larger version that would be between a PDA size and a tablet.



    Basically, the patent shows that a lot of things are possible and Steve J is going to be pushing hard to get the best of the optiosn to market.
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