updated 10:24 am EST, Tue November 13, 2012
Also snags wins on Smart Case, polyphonic note detection
Apple has scored several new patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office, according to AppleInsider. One of these is Consistent back up of electronic information, documenting the basic concepts behind OS X's Time Machine. The function creates incremental backups of a Mac, allowing people to restore an entire system or individual files back to earlier states. The patent application dates back to August 2006, before Time Machine was introduced in OS X Leopard, but still uses the term "time machine" to refer to the software.
Another patent covers a method of polyphonic note detection. This allows software to pick out individual pitches and tones in music amongst a collection of voices. This could have a number of uses, including more efficient editing and tuning. While some software on the market is capable of polyphonic detection, Apple has yet to build it into apps like Logic or GarageBand. Logic is generally considered to be overdue for a major update.
Two design patents describe more minor concepts, such as the page-turning animation in iBooks. The patent could theoretically pose a threat to other e-reading apps, such as Amazon's Kindle or Google Play Books. In the specific Apple implementation, pages can be turned gradually by dragging, or instantly with a swipe. iBooks also detects a finger's vertical position, curling the top and/or bottom of a page in response.
The other design grant covers the Smart Case, an accessory Apple launched for the iPad in March. Although reactions have been mixed, the case addresses a complaint people had about the Smart Cover, which is the lack of protection for the back of an iPad. Apple had a full-body case for the first-generation iPad, but didn't update it for the iPad 2.