A New, Little Apple Patent Could Mean Big Things for the iPhone 5

By | Aug 17, 2012

A new Apple patent granted on August 14th, 2012, may lead to a new kind of LCD screen, one that's thinner, lighter, and will likely be seen with the debut of Apple's new iPhone, though sources indicate it may also make its way into other devices, as well. With rumors flying about the company's newest launch (possibly October), this patent only serves to strengthen speculation about a release in the near future and what exactly the company will call its new offering. Most tech sites have been calling it the iPhone 5 for convenience, but with Apple's recent track record for releasing "not quite" upgrades, we may see another "4" or simply "the new iPhone." Either way, expect it to be a thinner version of its former self.

Plus, a Bigger Yard!

There is also talk—according to a recent iPhone rumor roundup at Broadband Genie—that the new iPhone will have a larger screen, more than likely around the 4-inch mark, up from 3.5 inches. In addition, expect a new ARM S5L8950X processor from Samsung. While all accounts have it as an improvement over 4S and iPad hardware, its clock speed and core numbers haven't been released. The new iPhone OS should also come in as a low-power, dual-core system that relies on iOS 6 rather than sheer processing power to get its work done, all good news for users that want to see increased battery life in notoriously power-hungry iDevices.

Midsize IT admins can expect an increase in employee interest for this new phone—no real surprise, given its pedigree. Fundamentally, there shouldn't be anything different in terms of security or access permissions, but IT professionals can expect at least a minor headache as old phones are tossed in favor of the newest, hottest device on the market. It's also worth noting that newer devices are often the victim of zero-day exploits or even general technical failures; something IT admins will likely be tasked with handling when user devices don't perform as advertised.

Patent Pending

Pre-release and before the potential problems hit, talk is heating up over the recent Apple patent, as described in an August 14, 2012, CNET article. Called "touch screen liquid crystal display," this technology presents a number of ways for Apple to integrate its touch-screen components into a single layer, reducing the thickness of the screen and allowing for both conventional LCD and in-plane switching (IPS) screens. Cost to manufacture may also come down with this advancement, though that probably won't play out as a reduction in prices for the average consumer.

There's also talk that the patent will be of use for input devices in a "variety of electronic devices and computer systems," according to Apple's filing, but right now that's just a fancy way to say that the technology is going to help sell more iPhones. Any collateral technology developments are just a bonus for Apple.

While this kind of technology isn't IT focused on the face, it has a number of potential applications for network security, including enchanted face or symbol recognition for access. Apple is known for its focus locking down its technology—and sometimes trading too much on its name—and this new patent may offer another avenue for increased consumer and IT peace-of-mind. With the release date of the new iPhone still uncertain, it's unclear what Apple will do with its new patent and how it will evolve over time, but here's hoping the glass is half-full.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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