All-encompassing iPhone patent filing hints at GPS, video chat

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple has filed for a patent that addresses virtually every aspect of the iPhone, including potential additions such as GPS mapping, media messaging, video calls, and voice commands.



While Apple has filed for patents covering individual aspects of the iPhone experience, including text messaging, a new patent application published late last week promises to roll all these and more into a single, comprehensive document -- one which credits Apple chief Steve Jobs as first in the list of inventors.



In addition to describing much of what the iPhone is capable of today, the patent for a "Touch Screen Device" would also safeguard Apple's ability to implement several features that have yet to appear in any hardware or in a software revision for the cellphone. On a software level, the company describes simple additions such as instant messaging and a version of Safari capable of playing in-line content such as Quicktime movies or Flash without having to temporarily leave the browser environment.



Adobe has said it's willing to offer Flash for the iPhone, but says it would need access beyond that of the official SDK, which bars plug-ins.



Further welcome additions described in the publication would include a dedicated blogging client, Java software downloads, MMS picture and video messaging, and support for voice-activated commands as well as audio capture. Many of these features are already built into competing smartphones, such as Research in Motion's BlackBerry line, or are available as downloads for these devices.



Some features described in the 371 pages of the application, however, would demand hardware additions that are widely suspected for future iPhone updates. Most pages of the patent place an "optical sensor" at the top-center of the device which, in some versions of the device outlined by Apple, would allow for videoconferencing with one or more participants. Several reports have floated the possibility of a front-facing camera appearing in an iPhone refresh believed to be unveiled this month.







The company also alludes to more uses of multi-touch in apps that would account for acceleration and velocity, including through a "physical click wheel" as well as a touchscreen.



Additional text in the potential patent also refers to a GPS module that would be used both for mapping and to add positional data to other applications. A weather or yellow page widget could base its information on the user's location, Apple says. Notably, the company has already added geo-tagging support to a recent beta of its iPhone 2.0 firmware that would potentially use a GPS receiver to locate where a photo was taken, suggesting that this feature is closest among those described in the patent to becoming a reality. The change further brought positioning requests to Google Maps and a toggle for "Location Services" to the iPhone's settings menu.



The California-based electronics maker isn't under any obligations to use technology described in the patent, which was originally submitted on September 5th, the same day as Apple announced the iPod touch and the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. Its publication came just over a week before the company's Worldwide Developer Conference, when Steve Jobs plans to showcase the iPhone during his keynote speech at the event.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,015member
    Fresh! Whatever enables Apple to lock down the patents on this kind of configuration first.
  • Reply 2 of 35
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    Isn't this old news?
  • Reply 3 of 35
    8corewhore8corewhore Posts: 833member
    He'd patent a coffee mug if he could. Prolly already has.
  • Reply 4 of 35
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,015member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post


    He'd patent a coffee mug if he could. Prolly already has.



    But it's a coffee mug, a beverage holder, and a hand warmer... are you getting this?
  • Reply 5 of 35
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    And when you drop it... *BOOM*!
  • Reply 6 of 35
    all of these are great for the iphone,



    but i dont want my phone to be able to do all those features, becuase simply it would run oout of battery really fast, so apple better coupe with tht, and give like 10 battery will brightness full, atching movei and haveing gps all at once
  • Reply 7 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post


    He'd patent a coffee mug if he could. Prolly already has.



    Wouldnt that be funny The iMug.
  • Reply 8 of 35
    merdheadmerdhead Posts: 587member
    This doesn't say much about what Apple will be releasing next week (if anything). It does say something about the sad state of affairs in the US with regards to patents that they feel the need to make this sort of application. I assume its to help them with opportunistic patent suits.
  • Reply 9 of 35
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,015member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by merdhead View Post


    This doesn't say much about what Apple will be releasing next week (if anything). It does say something about the sad state of affairs in the US with regards to patents that they feel the need to make this sort of application. I assume its to help them with opportunistic patent suits.



    It's what is necessary to get limited protection for the market you are attempting to exploit. Otherwise, what's to keep every company from simply reverse-engineering your products and selling them like China d.... oh, wait a second...
  • Reply 10 of 35
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    And what does this do to similar applications that other developers are surely already working on since the SDK was released. Not all of the apps mentioned in the article would require access that only Apple has to the internal workings of the iPhone. Perhaps the patent is more to protect themselves from those patent hoarding (er, holding) firms that sit on some obscure patent until they can find someone to sue.
  • Reply 11 of 35
    ivladivlad Posts: 740member
    Microsoft will still copy half of it. LOL



    Great to see patents for everything, I think this is the patent that Steve Jobs talked about when he announced iPhone in 2007. He said "we have more than 200 patents," at first I wondered why 200. What can be patented so heavily. As soon as I had my iPhone I knew what what patented.
  • Reply 12 of 35
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheLoneGod View Post


    Wouldnt that be funny The iMug.



    That's you and me, mate. And a few more million others. We're the iMugs.\
  • Reply 13 of 35
    number9number9 Posts: 14member
    The optical sensor isn't a camera, it's the ambient light sensor for the screen brightness.
  • Reply 14 of 35
    elliots11elliots11 Posts: 270member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by number9 View Post


    The optical sensor isn't a camera, it's the ambient light sensor for the screen brightness.



    I hadn't thought of that, but you're probably right. I'd still love to see video conferencing, though. Kind of shows how far we've come technologically. I know it's already around, but I mean on something good that a lot of people will use and hopefully be able to afford.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    as above i hope this was for the v1 because i don't want to wait any longer for an iphone with voice commands (voice dialing) gps would be cherry on top of 3 g



    has anyone seen anything from FCC?
  • Reply 16 of 35
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,015member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post


    has anyone seen anything from FCC?



    Maybe Al Gore has some contacts that are keeping it under wraps.
  • Reply 17 of 35
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by number9 View Post


    The optical sensor isn't a camera, it's the ambient light sensor for the screen brightness.



    You may be right but if you look at the diagram on the left at number 139 you will see what is described as the "video conferencing module".
  • Reply 18 of 35
    thttht Posts: 3,168member
    The patent application is pretty extensive with all of the usual features of cell phone communications device mentioned: video camera, SMS, MMS, instant messaging, video conferencing; Widget creator for user-created widgets (like Dashboard widgets I believe) and 3rd party Widgets; Firewire capability through the iPod docking port; 3rd party apps like JAVA apps, word processing, voice recognition/replication, encryption, DRM; and a host of UI things like a virtual click wheel and touch sensitive surfaces outside of the screen.



    One wonders if all of it is coming or not...
  • Reply 19 of 35
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post


    has anyone seen anything from FCC?



    Nope. It will be on AppleInsider and every other tech site once it hits, but I suspect we'll here Jobs announce it next Monday and the FCC will release it that Monday or Tuesday.
  • Reply 20 of 35
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Feynman View Post


    Isn't this old news?



    Only if you've read it before. Have you?
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