Apple secures 48 assorted patents, including inductive charging, integrating portable electronics with bicycles

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Date: Wednesday, January 30th, 2013, 08:44
Category: News, Patents

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It never hurts to have a patent for something.

Much less 48 of ‘em.

Per AppleInsider , the United States Patent and Trademark office published 48 newly granted Apple patents on Tuesday, covering technologies ranging from inductive charging to bike-integrated iPods, as well as one property covering the touchscreen technology that enables the latest iOS devices to achieve their current slimness.

The patents granted on Wednesday involve components and design elements for virtually all of Apple’s product offerings.

Inductive charging using printed coils:
This patent, filed for in June of 2012, describes systems “for harnessing power through electromagnetic induction utilizing printed coils.” Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,362,751 calls for one or more moveable magnets that, when traveling along the path of the printed coils, can power a device.

The technology is akin to shake-to-charge flashlights that use induction to produce electric current which is stored in capacitors for later use. This type of system eschews the need for bulky batteries that must be plugged in for charging or replaced when depleted.

A similar technology is used in rival devices — including the Google-LG-produced Nexus 4 and Nokia’s Lumia line of Windows Phone 8 handsets — which integrate inductive charging systems that use a wall charger to recharge built-in batteries, thus doing away with pesky electrical cords. Apple has yet to bring a competing technology to market. Prior to the release of the iPhone 5, rumors circulated that Apple would bring wireless charging to bear in that handset, but Apple marketing exec Phil Schiller said after the unveiling that the perceived convenience of such systems was questionable, since charging mats would still need to be plugged into an outlet.

In September, an Apple patent application emerged demonstrating a “realistic and practical approach to wireless power, providing over-the-air electricity to low-power devices within a distance of one meter.

Integrated touchscreen:
Apple also was granted a patent on a design for “displays with touch sensing circuitry integrated into the display pixel stackup.” This is a continuation of the in-cell touchscreen patent, granted in July of 2012, which made an appearance in the iPhone 5. The in-cell touch panel technology allows Apple to make its devices noticeably thinner, but initial yield rates for the panels were problematic, and Apple is said to be evaluating a newer technology using “touch-on” displays, averting some of the problems that came with in-cell touch panels.

Notably, the patent granted today gives a mobile phone, a media player, and a notebook computer as examples of where the technology could be implemented. Tim Cook famously dismissed touch-enabled PC form factors, saying they were like “[converging] a toaster and a refrigerator.”

Integrating a portable electronic device with a bicycle:
Also among the patents Apple secured today was a design for interfacing an electronic device with a bicycle. In the filing, the device receives output from sensors coupled to the bicycle, displaying riding characteristics and even communicating with other devices in order to allow cyclists to ride as a team and assist each other.

The application for the patent originally emerged in 2010. Technology such as that seen in the patent has yet to materialize in any Apple products, but it is in keeping with other fitness-related offerings, such as the Nike+ compatibility seen in iPods and iPhones.

Tuesday’s patent haul covers many other technologies, including motion-based payment confirmation, beamforming antenna systems, device cooling mechanisms, and more. Among companies worldwide, Apple in 2012 ranked 21st for the total number of patents granted in 2012. Last year saw the Cupertino company granted 1,135 patents, just behind Google, which secured 1,151 patents.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Opera web browser updated to 12.13.1734

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Date: Wednesday, January 30th, 2013, 08:16
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Opera Software released version 12.13.1734 of its web browser. The new version, a 20.3 megabyte download via MacUpdate, boasts the following fixes and changes:

General and User Interface:
- Fixed an issue where Opera gets internal communication errors on Facebook.

- Fixed an issue where no webpages load on startup, if Opera is disconnected from the Internet.

- Fixed an issue where images will not load after back navigation, when a site uses the HTML5 history API (deviantart.com).

Linux and Windows:
- A new stand-alone update-checker, as part of a planned upgrade of the auto-update system.

Windows:
- Improved protection against hijacking of the default search, including a one-time reset.

Security:
- Fixed an issue where DOM events manipulation might be used to execute arbitrary code, as reported by Arthur Gerkis; see our advisory.

- Fixed an issue where use of SVG clipPaths could allow execution of arbitrary code, as reported by anonymous via the iSIGHT Partners GVP Program; see our advisory.

- Fixed a low severity security issue; details will be disclosed at a later date.

- Fixed an issue where CORS requests could omit the preflight request, as reported by webpentest; see our advisory.

Opera 12.13.1734 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.0 update for Mac

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Date: Wednesday, January 30th, 2013, 07:27
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Microsoft released its Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.0 update. The update, a 106.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Meeting invitation times are displayed inaccurately in Outlook. Fixes an issue that causes meeting invitation times from non-Exchange calendar servers to be off by one hour during certain times of the year.

- Slides in collapsed sections cover other slides in Slide Sorter view in PowerPoint.

- Fixes a display issue that involves collapsed sections in Slide Sorter view.

- Hash tags (#) in hyperlinks aren’t saved correctly in PowerPoint. Fixes an issue in which hyperlinks that contain hash tags (#) aren’t saved correctly.

- Crash occurs when you use Paste Special with a partial table in PowerPoint. Fixes an issue that causes PowerPoint to crash when you use the Paste Special option to copy and paste part of a table.

- RTF text that’s saved in PowerPoint for Windows can’t be pasted into PowerPoint. Fixes an issue in which RTF text that’s saved in PowerPoint for Windows can’t be copied and pasted into PowerPoint for Mac.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.0 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and have anything to report back, let us know.