Apple Granted Patent on Methods for Dimming Screens Based on Content Needs

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today officially granted Apple a patent (via AppleInsider) describing methods for automatically adjusting screen brightness to suit the content being displayed. The patent, which was originally filed for in mid-2006 and can actually be traced back to a separate 2002 application, addresses techniques for saving battery life on portable devices.
    Apple's battery-powered devices have long had the capability to automatically dim displays based on such criteria as power source (battery vs. wall power), ambient light levels and usage (dimming the display of a device that hasn't been used for a particular time interval). Dimming the screen based on content, such as when a particularly bright image is displayed, requires a more sophisticated approach, something that Apple has clearly been working on for some time.

    Apple actually now uses a variation on this invention for its Passbook application in iOS 6 for the iPhone, automatically boosting the display's brightness to maximum when the app is launched in order to make it easier for scanners to read the 2D barcodes used on passes within the app.

    The patent suggests that Apple's plans for content-sensitive automatic brightness adjustment could even extend as far as frame-by-frame or scene-by-scene adjustments when viewing videos, with users also being able to configure their own preferences for content-based brightness.

    Article Link: Apple Granted Patent on Methods for Dimming Screens Based on Content Needs
  2. skitzogreg macrumors 6502


    Oct 31, 2007
  3. turtlez macrumors 6502a


    Jun 17, 2012
    And this is why Apple is still regarded as the best. Instead of focusing 100% on specs they focus on smaller things that create a much more solid experience and speed up performance. e.g. dual core iP5 out benchmarking quad core S3
  4. nepalisherpa macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2011
    Have you even read about features for other phones out there? I like Apple as well but I wouldn't call them the best!
  5. kockgunner macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    Although this seems like a simple thing to patent, imagine if Apple didn't patent it and everyone just started copying it? Then there would be no more innovation from other companies to create other battery saving methods with software or hardware? We always see these things as trivial but if everyone used the same methods and implementations, what differentiates one company's products from another's? Apple's R&D department might was well be Samsung or Google's.
  6. bushido Suspended


    Mar 26, 2008
    i love my iPhone 5 but i wouldnt call it the best software anymore. its lacking some neat little basic features or something "fresh" and innovative besides another row of icons

    some 3rd party apps start to look better than apples inconsistent UI nowadays. its all over the place. some things r suddenly white, others still dark, yet other things r full of colors.

    theres always hope for iOS7 or finally a iOS6 jb tho
  7. canucksfan88 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2007
    no wonder i almost blinded myself when i accidentally hit passbook at night

    the app has since been exiled to the last page
  8. turtlez macrumors 6502a


    Jun 17, 2012
    I agree with you here and I am sure iOS7 will fix all that. My main argument was Apple products in general, computers and phones/pods/pads. They focus on an area no other computer tech company does and that is subtleties in design both physical and in software.
  9. jamestada macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2010
    My flat screen already has this... its called movie and sports mode. :apple: should go sue them now.
  10. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    That's why we have competition. Businesses need to distinguish themselves to attract customers, low costs and innovation being important factors to that end. I'm sure that many of these 'innovations' would find their way into the product at some point, regardless of whether the competition copies it. I agree that important technological inventions must be protected to some extent, but if you lower the bar to seemingly obvious ideas, you create an artificial monopoly that cannot be good for business in general. This patent here is not even an invention, it is creative and functional at best. It just strikes me that such petty ideas can be patented in the US. No wonder that businesses have gone crazy with infringement actions.
  11. Mac Fly (film) macrumors 65816

    Mac Fly (film)

    Feb 12, 2006
  12. inkswamp macrumors 68030


    Jan 26, 2003

    Sorry for that everyone. Just wanted to get the unnecessary panic out of the way. Resume your regular discussions. :rolleyes:
  13. dojoman macrumors 65816

    Apr 8, 2010
    Did you even read what the patent is all about? It's not just dimming the screen.
  14. edwrap, Jan 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013

    edwrap macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Apple is already doing some variant of this for video playback on the iPad 4, see this long thread:

    As of now, only affects the native player, which is used by the Videos app and Safari, but also many third party apps like Youtube, AirVideo, and Plex.

    Edit: Some example clips from my own posts in that thread, so you can see the effect on your own iPad 4. Video needs to be fullscreen and with interface hidden for adjustments to trigger.
  15. 1Alec1 macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2013
    The Democratic Republic of Congo, you racist!
    Well this certainly makes watching the 2007 Led Zeppelin concert easier at certain parts.


    Cue the Apple-haters complaining about patents.
  16. RetepNamenots macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2009
    The stock Android clock has had this feature for a few years.

    But sure, now a patent has been published in Apple's name, they're the innovative ones...
  17. komodrone macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2011
    iChat with mom -> dim screen to 0%
    porn -> 100% brightness.
  18. Codyak macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2012
    Windows on laptops does something kinda similar to this, if the content on the screen is a certain color, it changes brightness.
  19. turtlez macrumors 6502a


    Jun 17, 2012
    i wasn't talking about patents. Just saying that Apple focus on small things that lead to big things.
  20. inkswamp macrumors 68030


    Jan 26, 2003
    One app versus a system-wide implementation. Patents are not about new ideas per se, but new and unique uses or implementations of ideas, existing or otherwise. If Apple has a new and sufficiently novel implementation of dimming to be implemented system-wide on a smart phone that they feel is cool enough to be protected from copying by competitors, then they should get a patent for it. It doesn't mean they came up with the idea of this kind of dimming. Nobody is saying that. That's a strawman argument.
  21. Timzer, Jan 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013

    Timzer macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2011
    Wow, you really gotta get out more.
    Ever heard of Smart Stay, Smart Alarm, Direct Call, etc..?
    BTW, these are features that already exist on an eight month old phone, the Galaxy S3. Yeah, unlike Apple, Samsung has focused on the little things too, but without ignoring specs. ;)
  22. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Hartford, CT
    They can't ignore them, iOS is so optimized that it gets the same performance as Android phones with (roughly) twice the hardware.
  23. Timzer macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2011
    Let me introduce you to join this thread.
  24. Azurael macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2005
    So Apple now holds a patent on something else people have been doing for years? Never used a TV/Monitor with dynamic contrast? Tegra 3 Android devices have a similar feature for video playback called SmartDimmer... And I'm sure there are probably dozens of other examples of content-related backlight control. Opening the camera app on my One X causes the screen to blind me too. This is simply ridiculous.

    What on Earth is wrong with the US patent system? Why does it allow this to keep happening?!
  25. Beta Particle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2012
    It’s not just the iPad 4, my iPad 2 & 3 have been doing it as far back as I can remember. It’s very annoying, as I disable auto brightness specifically because I think they do a very poor job with it by only adjusting up, until the screen dims from inactivity. I have to turn the brightness up higher than I want, to have videos play back at the level I want.

    I also wish there was the option to either set a custom time for the screen to dim from inactivity (I find 8 minutes works best for me on a notebook) and especially to stop it dimming after half that time has passed. It means I need to set my iPad to a 15 minute auto-lock to avoid it dimming in during use (perhaps they should also poll the accelerometer to see if someone is holding the device) which means it is potentially wasting power for 7.5 minutes before the screen actually turns off, and is insecure for an extra 7.5 minutes.

    I don't know how they can patent something like this though. LCD TVs have had this adaptive backlight feature ("dynamic contrast") for nearly a decade now.

Share This Page