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Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Apple Wins patents on Game Center, iPhone Burst Mode, Sapphire Glass Displays

The US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted a total of 59 patents to the Apple, including one for a special construction process that involves LiquidMetal and sapphire glass displays -- possibly coming on iPhone 6?

Starting with the sapphire glass patent, it describes "methods and systems for integrally trapping a glass insert in a metal bezel."

The special construction process involves LiquidMetal and sapphire glass displays. Apple has exclusive rights to LiquidMetal?s alloy until 2015. LiquidMetal is an amorphous alloy that looks like a metal in liquid form, but it moves like molten plastic. The patent hints that Apple may have plans to forge its future iPhones and iPads using the LiquidMetal technology.

The patent also describes how LiquidMetal could be used to stabilize the sapphire glass displays in future devices, offering a strong bond and protection between the glass display and metal chassis.

The possibility to see this technology debuting with the iPhone 6 this September is weak. However, Apple has agreed with GT Technologies to manufacture enormous amounts of sapphire glass.

But Apple's patent trove has been further enhanced with more patents. Among them, one is covering the iPhone's Camera Burst mode and another that focuses on the inner-workings of Game Center.

Apple's Burst Mode camera feature, available in the iPhone 5S, allows the phone's built-in camera to capture 10 photos per second. The new patent describes exactly how the feature works, including its reliance upon a hefty processor, image sensor, and enough memory to capture the photos in seconds. More specifically, the patent describes how that 10 frames per second could be more or less, depending on the technology built into the respective device. It also describes how the technology can continue to capture pictures in Burst Mode over the course of an entire action.

Apple's iPhone 5S carries a 8 megapixels camera, which could be considered as "inferior" to the camera systems found in other smartphones, such as those coming from Microsoft (Nokia), Samsung and HTC.

Rumors are swirling that Apple has plans to fire back at competitors with a better rear-facing camera in the upcoming iPhone 6.

Apple was also granted a patent for its Game Center app on iOS and OS X. The application tracks a user's gaming exploits across titles and maintains leaderboards, performance indicators, and more.

The patent describes "methods and systems for providing a game center having player specific options and statistics." Apple says that its technology allows gamers to build out their own social profiles on the game network and see those of friends. The patent also provides Apple protection on its ranking technology.

Game Center could be part of Apple's plans for the gaming space, as it could compete with Microsoft's Xbox Live.

Apple could also extend Game Center to the television through its Apple TV or future set-top box updates.

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