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Displays Iphone Patents Apple Hardware

Apple Patents Head-Mounted iPhone 55

mpicpp sends word of a patent newly awarded to Apple, #8,957,835, which describes a head-mounted apparatus that uses an iPhone (or iPod) as a display. The device "temporarily integrates or merges both mechanically and electronically a head-mounted device with a portable electronic device." It sounds a bit like Samsung's Gear VR headset, and many outlets are reporting it as being a virtual reality device. However, the patent itself doesn't mention VR, and it was filed in 2008, long before the VR rush of the past few years. That said, Apple has recently been trying to hire engineers with experience developing VR-related software, so it's something they could be evaluating.
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Apple Patents Head-Mounted iPhone

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  • Given the prior art, my guess is the patent is designed to prevent companies that make iphone accessories from making their own. E.g. if you want a VR headset for an iphone, you gotta pay Apple a 400% markup for a piece of plastic.

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @08:11PM (#49077387)
      There's that aspect, but it's also so that if Apple ever does make a product like this (they probably won't) it will be far more difficult for some other company with an overly broad patent similar to this to sue them.

      If the case were to go to court, all Apple would need to do is point at their own patent in claim that the patent office obviously thought their implementation was different enough from whatever company X has (Apple's patent might even list Company X as prior art. The actual patent has) and then company X has to argue that Apple's patent is invalid or it will have a really difficult time getting any damages.

      The patent system has turned into an arms race where it's far better to simply patent something you might never produce just because on the off chance that you do, someone else probably has a patent that's similar enough to sue you over it. Basically the cost of filing for the patent is less expensive than the cost of dealing with the legal costs if you don't have one.
      • by cas2000 ( 148703 )

        you know what the problem is with the "everyone else is an arsehole so i have to be an arsehole too" excuse?

        the problem is that you're still an arsehole. and a lame excuse is still just a lame fucking excuse.

      • There's that aspect, but it's also so that if Apple ever does make a product like this (they probably won't) it will be far more difficult for some other company with an overly broad patent similar to this to sue them.

        So Apple filed a spaghetti-against-the-wall patent for a device they're likely not even interested in making and now anyone who would hope to make such a device has to take on the risk that Apple may sue them. How exactly is this promoting the progress of the Arts and Sciences?

    • This is not iPhone specific. FTFPatent:

      "In accordance with the invention, a head-mounted display system and method of operation are provided in which the system can allow users to couple and decouple a portable electronic device with a head-mounted device. The portable electronic device may for example be physically and/or operatively coupled and decoupled with the head-mounted device. In some embodiments, the two devices may be considered temporarily integrated. "

      It appears to patent any holder ("a head-mo

      • It appears to patent any holder ("a head-mounted device") of any portable device worn on one's head that's providing a "display".

        So, you know all those pictures of the guys with cell phones taped to their head?

        This is pretty much the same idea.

        Seriously, I don't think this is patentable. Well, I'm sure it is, because the patent office are just rubber stamping stuff.

        The portable electronic device may for example be physically and/or operatively coupled and decoupled with the head-mounted device. In some emb

    • Given the prior art,

      Which "prior art"? Anything that came out before this very patent was widely derided back in early April 2010? E.g. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/01/apple_headmount_patent/ [theregister.co.uk], http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/04/apple-contemplates-head-mounted-iphone-display-america-cringes/ [engadget.com]

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        looking at stereographic images on pda's goes way, way back further than that.

    • i was gonna say how does this even get a patent??

      Moto and samsung have these for their phones as well. is this one of those "with an iphone" - just like the "on a comupter" patents that should never get out to begin with?????
      • If it's a novel way of fastening a phone to your head, it should be patentable. If it's just the idea, or an overly general implementation, it shouldn't be. I haven't read the claims, so I have no idea. (The claims are the part of the patent that matter. The quote in TFS sounds like it came from a more general description, which has no legal force.)

    • by MouseR ( 3264 )

      Unfortunately, prior art no more.

      The US just aligned itself with the rest of the international patent laws and the rule is now first-to-file.

      I know for having just filed one.

      (Sorry, I'm now that kind of asshole).

      • Prior art still matters. First-to-file is a way of saying who gets a patent. It replaced first-to-invent, in which the courts would have to sift through evidence to decide who gets the patent.

      • by laird ( 2705 )

        First to file doesn't mean that you can ignore prior art. It means that if two different inventors patent the same invention, the first filing "wins". But if someone else invented the same thing, and publicly disclosed it but didn't file a patent, before either of those patents, then it would be prior art.

        • by MouseR ( 3264 )

          IANAL but that's not what I understood from what my patent attorney described.

          You probably need a doctorate to be able to read this but USPTO defines Prior Art [uspto.gov] Machiavellicaly.

          A slightly more consumable description is here [cooley.com].

    • Except for a thousand fucking companies.

  • by Foochee ( 896249 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @07:42PM (#49077211)
    eyePhone anyone?
  • Dual use (Score:5, Funny)

    by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @07:52PM (#49077287) Homepage Journal
    This doubles as birth control device as well.
  • Or maybe they're just patenting it so nobody can use the idea. That might actually be a worthwhile patent, in that case.

  • I'm pretty sure Rubber Bands cover this "innovation"
  • Because a microwave RF transmitter strapped directly to your head is the only way to fry.. err fly?
  • Yes it is 2015. .... Still 2015 now too.

    How the heck does it take 7 years to approve a patent, especially when the approval decisions are of such low quality.

    • How the heck does it take 7 years to approve a patent, especially when the approval decisions are of such low quality.

      You must not have tried to apply for any patents. I'm still being awarded patents for work I did with my previous employer whom I left 7 years ago The patent application date was in 2004.

  • by matbury ( 3458347 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @09:21PM (#49077783) Homepage

    They'll have to prove that they came up with the idea before these people:

    http://data.coolnicks.co.uk/pi... [coolnicks.co.uk]

    http://funnypictures.up.seesaa... [seesaa.net]

    etc...

  • LOL ... (Score:2, Troll)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 )

    Dorks .... iiiiinnnnn .... spaaaaaaccce!!!

    Oh god, if anybody I know ever straps their iphone in front of their face with some dorky looking headgear ... the mocking shall be swift and relentless.

    Suddenly I'm picturing the dock-tacular iPhone HUD consisting of three iPhones, and I might pee myself laughing at the thought of it.

    You would have to mock strangers for wearing what I'm visualizing. :-P

  • tv hat [youtube.com]

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