back to article Apple patents laser, incandescent projector for laptops, smartphones

Apple has been granted a patent for a projector technology that uses a mash-up of laser and incandescent light sources, which the patent document says could be used not only in standalone projectors, but could also be scaled down to pico-projector size for use in a laptop, smartphone, "or other handheld device." US Patent 8,502, …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Terminator

Hallelujah, it's on the Jesus Phone

But those projectors did not have the blessings of the holy Steve Jobs, who shall rise again and the machines shall rejoice. Yea, for there shall be lasers mounted on both the phones and the sharks, smiting the users of the false phones.

Or maybe the iPhone users will be too busy projecting their pictures on stuff that they won't realize that that nice surface is actually a truck grille speeding towards them...

8
5
Silver badge
Facepalm

The same noble patent system that gave us the stunning stick

Yup, as pointless as a lib dem manifesto, as sincere as a tory policy and as competent as a labour administration, the good old US patent system bends over and blows another one out Apples way which is just as credible as this breakthrough earlier excretion.

14
1
Unhappy

Alas...

One hardly expects the Commissioner who ordered reexamination of the "stick" patent (subsequently resulting in the cancellation of all claims) to order reexamination of any Apple patents.

1
0
Silver badge

So when are Mozilla going to get their fingers out and make a Seabird phone?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG3tLxEQEdg

After all, they've got to the "pretty drawings" stage of design, which is obviously enough for some companies to get a patent.

0
0
Silver badge

I could almost see it being feasible for a laptop...

...since they have far more power and cooling capacity available to them when plugged in (as likely any device used as a projector would be) A smartphone even when plugged in would melt from the heat if you wanted a projection large/bright enough to be easily seen by everyone in a typical conference room.

The question is, why? If you can make a projector small enough to fit in a laptop, let alone a smartphone, why not build a small standalone projector the size of a deck of cards you can bring with your laptop or smartphone if you need to do presentations for clients who don't have their own equipment? The 99% who would never use this don't need to pay for the 1% who might.

6
0
Go

Rulez

I do think the patent system needs to be reworked so that they're only granted to real, working examples (even in prototype form) presented and demonstrated to the patent office. This 'submitting a sketch' thing is just silly.

I want to see the guys at Apple pitch up and say "we've invented a way to mount laser beams to shark's heads", and the patent officials reply "go on then"...

10
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Rulez

"I do think the patent system needs to be reworked so that they're only granted to real, working examples (even in prototype form) presented and demonstrated to the patent office."

That was the old system which was scrapped because it held up innovation. Specifically, innovation in the legal field of suing people for making something you dreamt of one night and scribbled down on a bit of paper and did nothing with.

7
0
Silver badge

Failed guess I think

It looks like some one at Apple thought incandescent was still the way to go. Draw up a few block diagrams and file for a patient. They talk about LED too. So are they going to fire a sue ball at Casio who have an actual working LED/Laser projector for sale (for a couple of years)?

"other embodiments are possible that do not utilize a screen, such as holographic projection equipment."

Oh look, Apple have developed a holographic projector. They just need to add another box to their block diagram and label it Holographic Emitter.

8
0
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Failed guess I think

"So are they going to fire a sue ball at Casio who have an actual working LED/Laser projector for sale (for a couple of years)?"

..."on a mobile device"?

Yeah, that's the one. The really, really small one. ------------> .

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Failed guess I think

>..."on a mobile device"?

Depends upon your definition of a "mobile device". In my book it includes a minicomputer plus a whole pill of radio equipment in the back of a van ... which after a few years became the smartphone you now carry around in your pocket...

2
0
Bronze badge
Go

This is what Apple does best

And I mean that in the sincerest, least tongue-in-cheek way imaginable.

Remember the iPod? It wasn't the first MP3 player by a long shot, but it was the first one that sold - all its predecessors were commercial flops.

Remember the iPad? Not the first tablet, but the first one that actually shipped more than about 3 units.

So pico-projectors have been tried before, and failed, and Apple thinks it has a technology that could make them successful. Well, just possibly they've looked at what was wrong with the previous attempts, and come up with a technological solution that makes them better.

I won't be buying one, but obviously someone - who's paid to be better informed than me - thinks there's a market out there. Maybe they're right.

5
3

what happened to pico?

A couple of year ago I was serioiusly thinking about buying a pico projector but typically, coudn't make my mind up. I looked at several, Philips, Casio, LG, Optoma (and some others I forget now).

Although some could produce decent sized images, none were really bright enough for use except in a blacked-out room (there was onew that was very bright - but also quite expensive compared to the others. Anyway i didn't bother, thinking that give it a year and they'll be better and cheaper.

January this year at the BETT, I could only find one pico projector.

What happened to all the others?

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: what happened to pico?

"What happened to all the others?"

My bet is that they're not economically viable - expensive to make and don't sell enough to be worth the trouble of making them.

It's a technology that's not quite ready for the mass market (and maybe never will be), but I'm fascinated by its potential. For example, rather than a laptop having a screen, it just has an opaque plastic lid for the projector, built into the keyboard section, to display the desktop upon. Want to watch a movie? Fold the lid right back and point the laptop's projector at a convenient bit of bare wall.

0
0
jai
Silver badge

Re: what happened to pico?

but that's the thing. projectors only really work well in a dark room and projecting on a white screen. my friend as one bolted to the ceiling in his lounge. great for watching movies, yes, but a pain in the proverbial to spend the time clearing space, setting it up, to watch, and even then, it's only great for the two people sitting in the right place, for the rest that are off to the side it's like sitting too far near the front at the cinema. takes the fun out of just having a quick game on the playstation.

whereas the screen on your phone/tablet/laptop works in all light conditions and is usable in any room of the house, regardless of the ghastly patterned wallpaper your mum put up.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: what happened to pico?

@jai

I agree with everything you've said but if projector tech gets small enough (to fit in a laptop/tablet/phone) and bright enough that it can do a reasonable image in normal lighting conditions, it'd be a killer app for whatever manufacturer gets there first. A phone or laptop projector wouldn't have to produce 16 ft by 10 ft image but say a 30 inch wide image on the back of the plane/bus/train seat in front of you would be a heap better than watching movies on a tiny phone or laptop screen.

I'll concede that the tech isn't anywhere near that level yet but I hope we'll get there one day.

PS: For a home setup, it takes a little forethought. You'd need a fairly long room (so you get the throw distance to make the "screen" BIG), which can be curtained into near-blackness, and which has a plain, white wall to point the projector at. I achieved this once with a cheap (by the standards of projectors) epson projector, and ended up with a very pleasant 7ft high "screen". Our Soul Caliber 2 contest were awesome! :)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: what happened to pico?

The problem isn't the brightness. There's always going to be a problem getting a lot of light power into something that fits in a pocket (though increasing LED efficiency and some lasers are helping). There are plenty of good reasons to use a picoprojector in limited brightness circumstances - you can use your phone to project an image on the back of the seat in front of you on a train without needing to carry a 10" tablet around, for example, or if you want to share some information then it's easier to put it up on a wall than have several people crowd around a handset, even if the image quality isn't perfect.

The reason I haven't bought one yet is that, with the arguable exception of some that cost way upwards of £500, the resolution sucks. I don't want a dim 7' screen with pixels the size of of lego bricks, especially if my phone's internal screen is 1920x1080. As soon as someone makes a decent resolution affordable projector, I'm there, even if it's a bit dim.

0
0
Silver badge
Trollface

Of course this patent application was accompanied by........

....a working prototype*. No? Well there's a surprise.

*A particular bugbear of mine with regard to the current fucked up state of hardware patent laws.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

At least we've finally seen what the iPhone 5s will look like.

0
0

You mean, no rounded corners?

That may be the most radical move of Apple of all time.

0
0
Silver badge

It doesn't have to be new for Apple to call it new

And they may well do it. I find it baffling why people will bypass a technology until Apple do their version and market the arse off it, but they do.

So Apple will launch one, give it a silly but trademarkable name, tell everyone how clever they are to invent it, competitors will relaunch their versions, and the fapples will accuse them of copying.

Either way it sounds a bit rubbish to me, having seen some of the pico projector efforts. Great gimmick but not terribly bright or high resolution or contrasty.

0
0

Re: It doesn't have to be new for Apple to call it new

"not terribly bright"

should fit right in with the apply crowd then

3
0
Silver badge

Now if they came up with one with a decent light source

that someone could see that would be a development but still not innovation.

An overheating (mobile) battery perhaps?

0
0
Silver badge

Solution looking for a problem - again

I don't see why this could be useful in any way. We already have small projectors that are quite bright enough, not too expensive, and easy to connect to laptops and, probably, tablets.

Given that the market is not in terrible need of image projecting technology, I don't see that this will change the market in any particular way.

Image capture was a totally different ball game. Having a camera in every phone has indeed been a good thing, if only to prove that UFOs and Bigfoot do not actually exist. But image projection ? Somehow I don't see that work that well.

After all, if you're projecting an image, you generally want to show your friends - who, these days, are on Facebook, so not there, so no use projecting.

0
0
Silver badge

I know...

The iWatch will contain a holographic projector...

Help me Obi Wan Kanobi you're my only hope

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Apple clutching at straws!

You tell me which consumers need a projector? The odd (and I mean that in both contexts) businessman.

Mind you the Apple marketing team turned the iFolly into something desireable for a very limited set of "people" (unless it's 'merica we're talking about, we all know how much of a MUG they are). Maybe they can make a pico projector fashionable?

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Cook & Co. may need a showstopper product

Meh. I think they know they can't produce it, so they're opting for the next best thing: The Sco Lawsuit strategy. This lays the groundwork so that when someone else finally does produce a marketable solution to the problem, they can sue for infringement then collect 10% of the revenue stream.

0
0

Reasonable Patent

A new solution to problem would seem a reasonable patent.

A new combination of existing things is patentable.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Galaxy Beam is pretty much here

http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxybeam/

And I saw one on display yesterday at the Samsung shop in the center of Paris. So it seems quite real to me.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums