Everybody's favorite online retailer is starting to grow up. With the successful Kindle e-readers and the Kindle Fire tablet under its belt, it's believed that Amazon is already working on its next homegrown project: a smartphone.
Clearly, someone over at the Airbus design department has been working just a little bit too hard coming up with patentable ideas. What you're looking at here is patent 8,157,204 (filed back in 2008, just approved) for a double fuselage, double swept-forward wing, double turboprop passenger aircraft. It's totally crazy, but actually pretty smart.
This May, the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center opened up "The Patents and Trademarks of Steve Jobs: Art and Technology that Changed the World." The traveling exhibit, which features the many, many patents of Steve Jobs, was designed by the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum and is fairly breathtaking for being 312 pieces of paper. Consisting of 30 display panels that are each four feet wide, eight tall and shaped like the face of an iPhone, the exhibit displays facsimiles of 312 of the 317 different patents that Steve Jobs acquired. It also has a case with an a 1984 Apple Macintosh Computer; a 1992 NeXT monitor, sound box, microcomputer, keyboard and mouse; and a 2003 Apple iPod, which was the first to feature a discrete touch-sensitive click wheel as opposed to one with distinct mechanical buttons. We chatted with Richard Maulsby, Associate Commissioner for Innovation Development at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, who told us: "I think what we endeavored to do with the exhibit is capture not just the quality but the breadth of this man's innovation genius."
When I was a child, Disney released a made-for-TV movie called Smart House, in which the house "knew" who its residents were and worked as an alarm system and helping hand: opening doors, offering food and even helping clean up after those rapscallions threw an unauthorized party. That system isn't impossible.
A recently discovered patent put in by Microsoft back in November is for "Control-based Content Pricing," which is a fancy way of saying that it'd track and monetize (read: penalize) the actions a viewer takes with a TV remote. DVR a show and want to skip the ads? Well, pay up, buster.
There's a reason that we're all still carrying physical keys around with us: they're simple, they're reliable, and while you might forget the key itself somewhere, you don't need to remember anything else besides how to put the key in a lock. A recently-spotted patent from Apple suggests that it's trying to make laptop chargers work the exact same way.
Here we go. Hurry up and breath all that fresh air in, because this is the last weekend before Apple takes wraps off the next iPhone (tentatively called the iPhone 4S/5). Will it have that 4-inch screen? Will it have that teardrop aluminum body? Will it have that faster dual-core A5 processor with 1GB of RAM and a spiffy 8-megapixel rear camera? Maybe that elongated multi-gesture home button? That's anybody's guess. The next iPhone will no doubt attract a lot of attention and coverage next Tuesday, so to get the train rolling early, we've collected some of the craziest patents in Apple's portfolio that might make it into the new smartphone. Hey, Apple owns the patents to build the tech, who's to say it won't surprise everybody with a few of them?
One of the trademark designs on every single MacBook is the magnetic power connector a.k.a. the MagSafe. Apple's just been granted a patent that will allow it to build future iPads and iPhones with the same trip-proof charging cables. Hurray!
Apple's Find My iPhone service allows you to locate your phone if it's lost or stolen. Very handy! But according to some new patents, it could be getting a significant upgrade.
We already have wireless charging, but it requires you to set your gadgets on a charging pad, which usually means specialized, bulky sleeves for your phone and the like to take advantage of the system. Read: it kind of sucks. Apple's take? Ditch the wires and the pads using f&#@in' magnetism. But how does that work?