Apple Patent Applications: Front-Facing Camera Depicted on Handheld Device, Rotatable Mouse

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A pair of Apple patent applications published today have been generating a bit of attention for their disclosure of Apple's behind-the-scenes work on its products. The first application covers methods for addressing variations in individual digital camera lenses by capturing images of known color and calibrating the software driving the lens to compensate for any non-uniformity in the lens with respect to a reference standard. While the technology could certainly be useful for ensuring consistent camera lens performance across devices in spite of manufacturing variations, AppleInsider noticed that images accompanying the patent application depict a front-facing camera on the handheld devices.




Apple handheld device depicting front-facing camera
This is not the first time that Apple has included product images in its patent filings showing front-facing cameras, despite that fact that none of its handheld products have yet to be released offering such a feature. Conflicting reports prior to the iPad's introduction disagreed over whether the device would contain a front-facing camera, and one was not included in the official introduction. An inspection of claimed iPad parts, however, reveals an empty space in the bezel that appears to exactly match that used to house iSight cameras in Apple's notebook computers.

A second patent application, detailed by Patently Apple, describes a mouse input device with a convex bottom and gyroscopic sensors that would allow users to control their computers by rocking or turning the mouse. Such actions could be used for horizontal or vertical scrolling or for rotating items on a computer screen.




Mouse roll for horizontal scrolling
The patent application appears somewhat similar in at least general line-of-thinking to one published last month that describes the use of force and velocity sensors to allow for gesture-based input on mice.

Article Link: Apple Patent Applications: Front-Facing Camera Depicted on Handheld Device, Rotatable Mouse
 

theheadguy

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
1,123
1,322
california
So come out with the front facing camera already!

The mouse is more interesting than the built-in isight. I like the direction they're going with it.
 

Tones2

macrumors 65816
Jan 8, 2009
1,471
0
Man oh Man - i REALLY need to come up with a lot of generic patent ideas with no idea how to implement and then sue companies that come close to the idea.
 

griz

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2003
581
220
New London, NH
Good god, let the click wheel die already. Why do we keep seeing this appear on everything. Even the on screen touch depictions as well. They make no sense in the world of the touch screen. Why use a wheel to do anything when you can just touch it directly or flick to pan or scroll?
 

amitdoc2b

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2008
878
15
Jeez Apple..

A lot of your competitors are already coming out with tablet-like devices with front-facing webcams. Netbooks also have front facing webams. So add the iSignt camera already!!

I am not buying an iPad for me nor my family members till a front-facing iSight webcam is implemented. And I know many others who are waiting for the same thing!
 

iPhoney:)

macrumors member
Jan 15, 2009
80
0
The fact is, Apple is working on a screen that also doubles as a camera, this is the future folks and Apple is leading the way as usual!
 

baryon

macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
3,552
1,551
So the first patent says that lenses on cameras are all sort of different because of manufacturing inconsistencies, and they want to correct that via software? That sounds quite ridiculous, why don't they just make good lenses that are all the same? After all, a good lens is crucial to a good camera, there's no way software can make the image much better after that...
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,052
159
Canada, eh?
I don't know why everyone is so hung up over a front facing camera. Do you want to make the guy at the other end throw up?

No, this isn't a wisecrack. What's a front facing camera for? Video chatting, right? How exactly do you expect to hold up a device like the iPad so that your face is clearly and steadily in view for the duration of a video call without shaking up a storm? You'd need to have it docked on a desk for it to be practical, and if you're at your dock, surely there's a computer nearby with a webcam. Or you lie it flat on the desk and it's looking straight up at the ceiling or up your nose. I suppose you could find some books, and build a little tower...

Go ahead, try it. Find a device the size and shape of an iPad with a camera (borrow someone's netbook or MBA?), hold it out at arm's length, and record a clip of your head talking for a few minutes. Then try to watch the clip wthout feeling seasick. Is this really what you want to show your friends?

Apple being the usability king, has obviously already tried this (note all the prototype photos with the space for the camera) and realized that it's just not practical. Instead of leaving it in so they can satisfy a checklist ("front facing camera!") they took it back out because they realized it's counterproductive.

Think about it.
 

bDoc

macrumors newbie
Oct 15, 2008
6
0
This is probably going to be for the iPhone so that iChat can finally be used from the iPhone.
 
I don't know why everyone is so hung up over a front facing camera. Do you want to make the guy at the other end throw up?

No, this isn't a wisecrack. What's a front facing camera for? Video chatting, right? How exactly do you expect to hold up a device like the iPad so that your face is clearly and steadily in view for the duration of a video call without shaking up a storm? You'd need to have it docked on a desk for it to be practical, and if you're at your dock, surely there's a computer nearby with a webcam. Or you lie it flat on the desk and it's looking straight up at the ceiling or up your nose. I suppose you could find some books, and build a little tower...

Go ahead, try it. Find a device the size and shape of an iPad with a camera (borrow someone's netbook?), hold it out at arm's length, and record a clip of your head talking for a few minutes. Then try to watch the clip wthout feeling seasick. Is this really what you want to show your friends?

Apple being the usability king, has probably already tried this and realized that it's just not practical. Think about it.
Use some imagination. If you find yourself in a situation where you just can't handle a good video chat, take the audio call, or text back that you'll call them shortly. In all other situations, it should be very easy to find a stable spot on which you can prop it up against- say- a wall (or something on a table) support it from sliding with one finger and video chat away.

I agree that this is a terribly missing feature in a device that could be a lite-use alternative to taking the laptop when you are out and about. As such, it should have that very nice (video chat capability) benefit built in. It would be terrific to be able to just take this along when you are traveling, while still being able to video chat with loved ones back home... much better than NOT having that option at all just because you are sometimes in situations where you couldn't take a video chat request right at that particular moment. Sometimes, I find myself in situations where I can't take a phone call either, but that shouldn't justify leaving the phone functionality out of the iPhone.
 

sassenach74

macrumors 65816
May 3, 2008
1,170
28
Spain
I don't know why everyone is so hung up over a front facing camera. Do you want to make the guy at the other end throw up?

No, this isn't a wisecrack. What's a front facing camera for? Video chatting, right? How exactly do you expect to hold up a device like the iPad so that your face is clearly and steadily in view for the duration of a video call without shaking up a storm? You'd need to have it docked on a desk for it to be practical, and if you're at your dock, surely there's a computer nearby with a webcam. Or you lie it flat on the desk and it's looking straight up at the ceiling or up your nose. I suppose you could find some books, and build a little tower...

Go ahead, try it. Find a device the size and shape of an iPad with a camera (borrow someone's netbook or MBA?), hold it out at arm's length, and record a clip of your head talking for a few minutes. Then try to watch the clip wthout feeling seasick. Is this really what you want to show your friends?

Apple being the usability king, has obviously already tried this (note all the prototype photos with the space for the camera) and realized that it's just not practical. Instead of leaving it in so they can satisfy a checklist ("front facing camera!") they took it back out because they realized it's counterproductive.

Think about it.
WTH are you talking about? Why do people keep spewing this nonsense?
"Yeah, I'm making a videa call, I think I'll lie this down flat".....you think that's how peoples logic works?
So it being a MOBILE device, yeah surely a desktop is nearby........what?
Cos it's like totally impossible to put it down in something upright, there's no such thing as a dock/case/list goes on, to hold it right?
The only time I can see your supposed logic is when you're walking around with the device chatting...........how likely is THAT going to be?
Bizarre logic some people have on here.
 

Makindosh

macrumors member
Jan 24, 2008
55
0
cameras on all

Camera on front for video chat or vlog for youtube would be great.

2nd camera on back for video and photos would be great too.

If both cameras work simultaneously...that would be awesome!
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
38,198
4,598
Los Angeles
It's funny to hear about plans to make mice do more tricks. Eventually, they'll have enough buttons and movements to replace keyboards and trackpads entirely. We could call them Mighty Gadgets and they'll be our only input device.

Then somebody will invent a tiny specialized version with just one or two buttons and no special tricks, smaller and simpler to operate than the Mighty Gadget. People will use it so they don't have to rely exclusively on their giant feature-laden Mighty Gadget. We could call the new device... a mouse!
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
6,113
2,668
Maybe this will pave the way for a rotatable Mac Pro in the future?
 

CFreymarc

Suspended
Sep 4, 2009
3,969
1,149
Jeez Apple..

A lot of your competitors are already coming out with tablet-like devices with front-facing webcams. Netbooks also have front facing webams. So add the iSignt camera already!!

I am not buying an iPad for me nor my family members till a front-facing iSight webcam is implemented. And I know many others who are waiting for the same thing!
These patent claims are almost funny. Both listed in this article can go back to the PARC days. The first generation research mouse was a hell of a lot more than the block of wood and two wheels that was shown so many times in the past. There were mice with tiliting actions just as described in this briefs and even inductive coils in proximity to the mouse to track 3D space movements and orientation.

Yes, you can file a patent for anything. With the overload of patent applications in Crystal City these days, a lot of things are getting approved without reference to existing prior artwork. If you have the budget to go after invalidating a patent suite, you can typically hit the valuation of a company if needed to keep them off your back; even Apple.
 

louiek

macrumors 6502
Mar 7, 2006
342
57
Knutters Knoll, Melbourne
Go ahead, try it. Find a device the size and shape of an iPad with a camera (borrow someone's netbook or MBA?), hold it out at arm's length, and record a clip of your head talking for a few minutes. Then try to watch the clip wthout feeling seasick. Is this really what you want to show your friends?
Lots of video cameras come with image stabilization software. This will not be a problem.
 

lambo32490

macrumors newbie
Jun 13, 2007
21
0
Hmmm

While a click wheel on the iPhone wouldn't make much sense, a Home Button with additional functionality would be pretty useful. I could see this technology being implemented on the next version on the iPhone for sure.

-Aside from the little control button on Apple's headphones, there is currently no way to control your music without actually going into your phone.
 

miketcool

macrumors 6502a
Jun 24, 2003
879
257
California
Whoa! What's with the dog in the bottom most row, center most column? ;)
His owners either never watched the Bob Barker give his message on the Price is Right,

or

The dog was so well endowed, that they could never over-power him to make the big cut.

Personally, my favorite is Column 6 / Row 5, pouring gas in the engine.
 

tinny the cat

macrumors member
Apr 5, 2009
45
0
ipod classic?

perhaps this is the new revision of the ipod classic, the current 1 is looking very dated, maybe a signal that the ipod line is going to be gaining touch screens and retaining the click wheel for the die-hards?
 
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