Apple Files New Private Viewing Patent
Private viewing for most smartphone, and LCD based device owners, equates to cupping their hands over the screen, or quickly pulling the device away when they notice someone peaking.
Apple has a solution, privacy mode.
The ever-vigilant patent mining fellows at Patently Apple have recently discovered an Apple patent called “Systems and Methods for Electronically Controlling the Viewing Angle of a Display.”
The patent, credited to Apple engineer David Gere, allows only those directly in front of the device to view the display. There are currently a number of private viewing screen protectors on the market that do the same thing. However, once the screen protector has been applied the only way to view the device is if you’re directly in front of it. The technology in the patent would allow privacy mode to be entered by touching a dedicated corner that would pop-up settings for changing the viewing angles.
This wouldn’t happen via magic. The explanation of the technology in the patent is an exercise in complex simplicity: a simple problem, with a simple solution, and a complex explanation. The new privacy enable displays would be able to essentially steer light using microscopic mirror-like structures. The structures themselves don’t move, but are controlled by a variable control voltage, which is applied to the LCD optical element. Imagine a giant wedge that can be opened or closed, thereby restricting the viewing angle if necessary.
While an iPod is pictured in the patent, it should be noted that this technology can be applied to any iDevice or LCD screen.
Source: Patently Apple