Yesterday Microsoft introduced the new Surface Hub for enterprise collaboration and meetings during their Windows 10 event. Microsoft noted that their new Surface Hub, as noted in the video above, would introduce Skype for the enterprise, be able to manipulate 3D CAM files using multitouch, use their Surface pen to make annotations and mark-up materials on screen and more. In yesterday's presentation Microsoft introduced two features or apps called "Meetings" and "Brainstorming." As the New Year began, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published one of Microsoft's patent applications covering the basics of their new Surface Hub interactive display that our Patently Mobile IP blog discovered today. The patent filing shows us some new customized gestures that the Surface Hub may introduce along with a few other interesting facts. While I'm sure that there will be a number of future patent filings on this invention over time, for today, the timing of this initial patent application on the Surface Hub couldn't have come at a better time.
Back in September we posted a report about Apple having to ensure China's Ministry that there were no hidden back doors to Apple's iOS 8 for the iPhone 6. The report noted that China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it conducted "rigorous security testing" on the iPhone 6 and held talks with Apple on the issue, and that Apple shared with the ministry materials related to the potential security issues. We also posted a follow-up report titled "Apple's CEO Attended Top Level Meeting in China over Security." Just when we thought that this issue was over and done with, the Chinese-language Beijing News has opened the door all over again. Beijing News is reporting today that Apple's CEO Tim Cook had agreed to submit Apple products for web security evaluations by Chinese authorities. This was reportedly agreed to during a meeting between Tim Cook and Lu Wei, the chief of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Internet Security and Information in December.
On January 22, 2015, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their work on improving the technology related to iDevice backlight units. Apple's invention covers new backlight technology that could potentially allow for high power efficiency while avoiding excessive battery drain. While this isn't an exciting whiz-bang invention, saving power can be realistically appreciated by everyone using any Apple MacBook or iDevice.
Last week we reported on an Apple invention relating to the iPhone or iPad Home Button doubling as a gaming joystick. It was so simple and yet so right. I had noted at the end of that report that it was a nice feature, even though it wasn't a total gaming solution. I guess the gaming gods wanted to remind us today that Apple indeed has other technology on hand to advance game-play functionality on iDevices. The U.S. Patent Office published a patent application today revealing an invention that covers iDevices having sensors built into the backside of the unit giving gamers controller inputs resembling standard gamepad functionality.
Last week we reported on the Google Glass Project going underground until further notice. Google had taken the decision to reinvent their augmented reality device that just wasn't connecting with the consumer as first hoped for. In hindsight it now makes sense why Google chose to make that announcement so public at that particular point in time. Today Microsoft introduced HoloLens, an all-new holographic headset that will be powered by Windows 10.
A year ago we reported on Samsung's embarrassing misstep trying to introduce their Tizen OS with Docomo jumping off the Tizen bandwagon at the last moment and instead focused on Apple's iPhone. Since that time there have been other missteps like missing a launch in Russia and India. Then on January 14 Samsung surprised everyone by actually introducing a Tizen OS based phone in India for under $100. So that finally got that monkey off their back only to be hammered by reviewers and those in India for producing a product that's completely underwhelming to say the least.
In September we posted a report titled "Samsung weeps as iPhone 6 Mania Rocks around the Globe." There was just something in the air about the iPhone 6 that was different from some previous models. In part it was the introduction of Apple's first Phablet taking on Samsung's Galaxy Note. Apple was taking the battle to Samsung and there was electricity in the air as the battle began. On January 9 we posted a report from Kantar that told us tells us that the iPhone 6 had won the war by a wide margin in the U.S. Today, the news is even sweeter: Apple's iPhone 6 is the first smartphone by a foreign company to ever go beyond 20% market share in South Korea. In fact Apple smashed that record by a wide margin by taking Samsung's Galaxy smartphone line-up head on.
In October we reported that "Google and Facebook Handily Outspent Apple on Lobbying." Google spent $3.94 million between July and September while Facebook spent $2.45 million. Considering Apple's sheer size and importance in the tech sector, it was strange to find that Apple had only spent a little over a million in that same quarter for lobbying. In November we learned that Apple was stepping up their politics and hired a new DC lobbyist. Today we learned that Apple got more involved with various agencies in Washington D.C. in December. Specifically, Apple wanted to ensure that their products such as the Apple Watch wouldn't get snared in any last minute red tape regarding the addition of new medical sensors.
Apple's iPhone 6 and especially the iPhone 6 Plus ran over Samsung's Galaxy and Galaxy Note products this past Christmas. And although Samsung will be focusing a lot of their energy on taking the smartphone war to China's Xiaomi in the year ahead, the upcoming Galaxy S6 is squarely aimed at striking back at the iPhone. The new Galaxy S6 is reportedly packing heavy specs as a counter attack against Apple's iPhone in the hopes of stopping their market share and profits from bleeding any further.
In a report that we posted in September we learned that Samsung smartphone sensor technology had been dragged down by technological and legal problems. The legal issue revolved around smartphones integrating biometric sensors having to be clearly labelled as medical devices. At the time we wondered if this same problem could catch up with Apple's iDevices. Today the FDA released a draft relating to "General Wellness: Policy for Low Risk Devices." The Draft Guidance is for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff. On the surface it appears that simple heath sensors found in iDevices and the future Apple Watch are likely to be cleared by the FDA as not having to be labeled medical devices like is the case in Korea. Secondly, the FDA documents states that their guidance documents "do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities."
Shortly after Apple introduced their new Apple Watch, the knives came out. One of the leading Swiss watch companies headed by Jean-Claude Biver lashed out at the Apple Watch for being too feminine amongst other things. Of course what he didn't reveal at that time was that his company was secretly racing to come up with a smartwatch that would eventually compete with Apple. In December we reported on the rumor that Intel may provide the chip to power Tag Heuer's first smartwatch in 2015. Today a new report covers some of Jean-Claude Biver most recent insights into the Tag Heuer smartwatch.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 12 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a single patent that relates to eye tracking and gaze controls that will apply to all future iDevices, the MacBook and more importantly, for use in your car, in a future gaming console or entertainment system. Controlling a system using advanced eye tracking is tricky and Apple's granted patent discusses how their system will overcome the number one problem facing eye tracking systems today: Troxler fading. Other tech companies that are interested in eye tracking and gaze controls include Sony and Samsung.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 12 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today which represents one of the slowest granted patent days in recent years. In this report we cover a single invention relating to strengthening iDevice cover glass. This new process is behind the new Apple Watch and has been branded as Ion-X Glass. Apple was also granted two design patents today. As usual, we wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Yesterday an Apple Pen rumor surfaced stating that Apple would be releasing their first digital pen as an accessory option for their upcoming larger iPad pro tablet. Today we've discovered that Samsung has invented a new kind of smartphone and electronic pen docking station that would allow it to act more like a Wacom tablet. The patent presents the idea of a user being able to have their smartphone-dock tap into the power of their PC. By doing so, the dock would be able to tap into the computers faster processor and graphics card making their smartphone double as a graphics digitizing tablet while connected. For those that could only afford one smart device, such as a smartphone, it's an interesing accessory that might be very appealing to some.
Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. Today Apple's homepage is dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther King with a photo and a message as noted in our cover graphic.
On December 4, 2014, we reported that the US Patent & Trademark Office had published a patent application from Apple that revealed a new stylus invention relating to an advanced signal detection and demodulation architecture. We noted in that report, that for a company that supposedly has no interest in a stylus it was amazing that this year alone they had applied for ten new pen-related patents. We noted that it was evident that Apple had plans of introducing a next-gen smart pen at some point in the future, it was only a matter of time. Closing out 2014 Apple was granted a patent for an iPen that could also Work with Paper. Today to a new rumor has surfaced that an iPen or Apple Pen is being aimed for release with Apple's large 12 or 12.9 inch iPad as an accessory sometime in the first half of 2015. How elaborate Apple's first digital pen could be is unknown at this time as Apple has a huge body of intellectual property on this area of technology as noted in our smart pen archives. One example below illustrates a smart pen that could work with a new iPad menu system and gesturing.
On January 17, 2015, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's latest trademark filing for "iPhone" which was filed late yesterday. Although Apple's "iPhone" is already a Registered Trademark, they're now technically seeking to file "iPhone" under a new International Class for specific added protection.
U.S. based Ericsson Inc. and Sweden's Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (together, "Ericsson") are suing Apple over their refusal to license their patent portfolio of Essential Patents via ETSI standards. Ericson states in their formal complaint before the court that "Apple and Ericsson previously entered into a license agreement that is now expired, yet Apple continues to sell products that comply with the cellular standards without a license from Ericsson." Apple argued, according to Bloomberg, that Ericsson is seeking excessive royalty rates and wants the federal court in California to rule that Ericsson's patents aren't essential to long term evolution, or LTE, standards. Apple must be very confident that they have a solid argument to take on established Essential Patents that are well established. In the end, this could be a game changer for the industry if Apple prevails.
There's been a propaganda war going on over who will produce Apple's next generation processors. Every time that there's a report that TSMC will retain Apple's chip business, a counter report is soon to follow stating the contrary. In late December it was reported that GlobalFoundries was experiencing tooling delays. So today, to counter that report, magically Samsung will gain 70% of Apple's A9 business with GlobalFoundries only being used as Samsung's "backup fab." How convenient is a report like that to skirt the issues surrounding GlobalFoundries. Tailor made wouldn't you say? Nonetheless, the latest rumor gives Apple's business to Samsung until there's another one to contradict it.
We posted an extensive report in November titled "Google Glass, a Failure until Further Notice." The report showed how developers were losing interest in the project and how the press kept hammering the project of late. The UK Guardian titled one report "Google Glass, a fascinating failure" and John Dvorak wrote a piece called "Rest in Peace, Google Glass: 2012-2014." In a second report on Google Glass back in December titled "Intel Processors will Power Google Glass in 2015," we noted that Google Glass was likely to shift gears away from being a consumer product to one primarily used in various specific industries. Today, Wall Street Journal's Alistair Barr continues with a new report on Google Glass 2.0 that confirms this direction for Google Glass. (View the Wall Street Journal video above by clicking on the arrow)
On Monday we reported that Apple had opened a new store in Henan province, its first in central China, bringing the number of Apple stores in mainland China to thirteen. The new store opened last Saturday in a shopping mall in downtown Zhengzhou. Our cover graphic shows the massive crowds that gathered to experience the first Apple Store in that region. Today it's being report from several Chinese news sites that Apple will have another four stores opening before the Chinese New Year. The Spring Festival, or the Chinese lunar New Year, falls on February 19 this year. It is regarded as the most vibrant shopping season for 1.3 billion Chinese people.
Nick Mason is the only member of Pink Floyd to have played a part in every one of the band's often turbulent incarnations. He bluntly stated in a new GQ interview that he thinks that Apple's iTunes is rather passé. The GQ interview and accompanied video has to be meshed together in order to get Mason's full thoughts on music today, and we've done just that to the best of our ability in this report. If you happen to be a big fan of Pink Floyd, like I am, then Mason's thought on the state of the music industry may be of interest to you.