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05-13-2011, 09:12 AM #1
Nano Patent Round Up: Games, Screen Savers Oh My!
When it rains it pours. A mere 36 hours after the alleged next gen iPod Nano photos surface, Patently Apple dug up a bevy of Apple patents for the Nano and future iDevices.
The last Nano introduced a limited touch interface to the device, a series of patents uncovered by Patently Apple shows a multitouch interface, "chameleon-like" screen savers, and games could be implemented.
The most attention in the patents seems to be given to the idea of eliminating today's rather boring and static screen savers. Psychedelic, seizure inducing mosaics, and 3-D text apparently don't cut it any more in Apple's eyes. They would rather utilize an array of senors to monitor everything from temperature and barometric pressure to vibrations, magnetic fields, and even the devices orientation on the planet and apply it to your screen savers.
The patent contains a dizzying number of possible uses for the sensors. A rain animation is often used as an example. The falling rain can be manipulated by any number of sensors, including altering the direction and speed of the droplets based on the devices movement, and orientation sensors. Imagine having the rain always fall toward the ground no matter how the device is titled.
The screen saver and its elements are managed by a series of tags and layers. In a menu the user can select the tag function then manage these layers and tags. Each layer can be associated with a sensor and the desired measurement from that sensor. For example the motion sensor can be applied to layer 1 and have the movement direction be detected. Then the camera tag can be applied to that same layer with the color palette being the detected measurement.
More interesting though is the inclusion of a games section. Games on the nano seem counterintuitive. However, the inclusion of games would mean Apple is opening up the closed operating system of the current nano.
It will be interesting to see which of these features make it into future Apple products. It is important to note these patents are illustrated using the Nano, but can be applied to any of Apple's iDevices. I can't imagine all of the necessary sensors mentioned in the patent would fit inside a nano.
Source: Patently Apple