12 of Apple’s Most Iconic Patents and Recent Trademarks

Love them or hate them, patents make up an important part of the business world. And Apple owns a lot of patents. In 2016, the company was granted more than 2,000 patents, placing them in the number 11 spot for most patents awarded.

With so many patents being granted every year, sometimes it can be hard to know who owns what. Often times companies take each other to court over patents, such as the infamous court battles between Samsung and Apple. Because of this, it’s hard to know which patents are the most valuable until they’ve been defended in court. In fact, often times a technology is covered by multiple patents, not just one.

To convolute matters further, there are patents and then there are trademarks. Unlike patents, trademarks are mainly used to register a term or phrase (i.e. iPhone, Red Vines, Wendy’s). However, they can also be very valuable to how a service is perceived. Apple gives unique names to many of its proprietary services (such as iMessage) to help make them unique. Use the Right Arrow to Browse 12 of Apple’s Most Iconic Patents and Recent Trademarks.

iDrop News

Shazam Redesign Hints at Apple’s Future Plans for the Platform

Today, Shazam received a significant update and redesign for the first time since Apple announced its acquisition of the British music identification service.

Several new features and changes were added in the update. And while that normally wouldn’t be notable, the introduction of those features may hint at Apple’s plans for its newest platform purchase — and how it could implement deeper integration of Shazam with its own Apple Music streaming service.

The Shazam results page, which pops up when a user identifies a song, has now been simplified. Instead of the previously cluttered page littered with sharing options, the results pane simply displays the song and a large picture of the artist. Tapping on this picture brings up additional information about the song.

Other interface changes include a streamlined track-result menu that puts lyrics, artist videos, updates and other details into a single place. If Shazam is connected to Apple Music or Spotify, users can now easily add a song to their playlist with a single tap.

There’s also a new “lyric syncing” feature. Tap on the appropriate button, and Shazam will display the song’s lyrics in real-time as it’s playing the track.

While these features might have been planned before Apple’s acquisition, the timing of it doesn’t seem coincidental. The lyric syncing feature, specifically, is extremely similar to the real-time lyrics in Spotify, which are powered by Genius.

On the other hand, Shazam has received fairly regular minor updates since Apple announced the purchase in December. That suggests that the company could keep Shazam a standalone service and app — at least, for the foreseeable future.

Of course, Apple’s purchase of Shazam isn’t finalized quite yet. So any tentative speculation about how Apple could use the service’s technology should be taken with a grain of salt. Just last week, the European Commission said that a handful of countries had asked for a probe into the acquisition, citing concerns that the deal could threaten competition.

The Shazam update, version 11.7.0, is currently available form the App Store Updates page.

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Apple’s new ‘Close Your Rings’ ad definitely wasn’t well thought-out

Apple HomePod rings problem solution

The HomePod, Apple’s opening salvo in the war against Amazon Echo and Google Home, is off to an inconspicuous start. Despite fawning reviews about the speaker’s sound quality, the HomePod failed to sell out, and a number of features like multi-room support or stereo pairing don’t work at launch.

To make a bad launch worse, it was revealed this week that the $ 349 speaker can leave a white ring on some wooden surfaces. Apple tried to downplay the issue, saying that it’s ‘not unusual‘ for a speaker to do that, but by that point, the ‘Ring of doom’ narrative was already too strong.

So it’s just a little too close to home that Apple launched a new page on its website today promoting the Apple Watch’s activity features called “Close Your Rings.” You have to assume it was a long-planned addition, and on any other day, no one would notice or care.  But when Apple’s fighting a PR battle against the HomePod leaving rings, telling people to close them might not be the best idea.

“Close Your Rings” is Apple’s not-quite-so-catchy version of “Just Do It:” it’s supposed to be a motivational slogan for people who wouldn’t otherwise work out, but are now being encouraged to do so because of some digital nagging. The name derives from the Apple Watch’s activity tracker, which uses a growing circle to map your activity for the day: When you hit your goal, the ring is closed.

Apple – BGR

Apple’s most talented workers can’t stop walking into doors

Apple Park Glass Walls

Apple recently completed its brand-new headquarters in Cupertino, California. The giant UFO-shaped building — the most expensive building in the US — is sprawling glass-and-steel manifesto, a very physical manifestation of Apple’s ethos to always put design first. And, in the most Apple way possible, putting form over function is causing some problems.

According to Bloomberg, Apple employees keep walking into the glass panes and glass pods littering the building. Attempts to make things safer by putting Post-It notes on the most dangerous doors have been struck down by Apple leadership, since it interferes with the building’s design.

“Surrounding the Cupertino, California-based building are 45-foot tall curved panels of safety glass,” Bloomberg reports. “Inside are work spaces, dubbed “pods,” also made with a lot of glass. Apple staff are often glued to the iPhones they helped popularize. That’s resulted in repeated cases of distracted employees walking into the panes, according to people familiar with the incidents.”

Although Apple Park has received rave reviews from architects and Apple fans, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that employees aren’t enamoured with their new office. Last year, John Gruber reported that Johny Srouji, the head of Apple’s silicon design team, didn’t like the layout either:

When he was shown the floor plans, he was more or less just ‘f*** that, f*** you, f*** this, this is bulls***.’ And they built his team their own building off to the side on the campus. So they’re not even in — not only are they not going along with the open floor plans, but Srouji’s team is in their own building. And maybe internally they’re saying it’s for security or that’s there’s a logical reason for it, but my understanding is that that building was built because Srouji was like, ‘f*** this, my team isn’t working like this.’

 There’s also been criticism that the open-plan design isn’t condusive to a good working environment for Apple’s software engineers, who need a simple environment with a lack of distractions to work well. Maybe that’s why Apple’s software has been problematic lately.

Apple – BGR

Apple’s Website Promotes ‘Closing Your Rings’ as Fun Way to Maintain Active Lifestyle With Apple Watch

Apple has added a new “Close Your Rings” page to its website that highlights how the Activity app works on Apple Watch.

The page details how Apple Watch users can close the Move ring by hitting their personal goal of active calories burned, close the Exercise ring by completing at least 30 minutes of activity, and close the Stand ring by getting up and moving around for at least one minute during 12 different hours in the day.

Three rings: Move, Exercise, Stand. One goal: Close them every day. It’s such a simple and fun way to live a healthier day that you’ll want to do it all the time. That’s the idea behind the Activity app on Apple Watch.

Apple also provides tips about how to use and customize certain fitness-related features of the Apple Watch, and highlights Achievements and Monthly Challenges that can be earned by closing the rings in the Activity app.

While the page doesn’t provide any brand new information, it should be useful for people who are considering purchasing the Apple Watch. Apple has been highlighting individual features on its website more often lately, including a new page that promotes augmented reality use cases powered by its ARKit platform.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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