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Home Theatre iPad Micro Projectors Patented By Apple

Home Theatre iPad Micro Projectors Patented By Apple

Apple has received US Patent No. 8,789,953 for a new “video delivery system using tablet computer and detachable micro projectors” – although there’s no word yet on whether they’ll end up being called iProjectors, iView, iSee or anything else.  

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iPad with connected projectors.

The patent images indicate an iPad that can accept either wired or wireless micro-projectors, which can be used to project a giant image onto a wall or projection surface, or two separate images or video files at the same time.

The images also show an iPad that can have projectors connecting on either side via IEEE 1394 FireWire or USB, or can operate wirelessly.  
Apple’s patent states its invention relates “to a video delivery system, specifically to an image and video delivery system employing a tablet computer and dual micro projectors.”
In its “description of prior art” section, Apple says “there is an increased trend of integrating a micro projector with a handheld device. Opportunities exist for using the tablet computer and the micro projectors to improve media delivery experiences.”
On this point, while there was were a handful of Android smartphones released a couple of years ago with micro-projectors built it, and several standalone micro-projectors are on the market, the picture quality these units provide is still a far cry from standard larger projectors, let alone flat screen LED TVs. 
So while Apple points to an “increased trend”, it may well take Apple to release high quality micro projectors that make the trend so popular that it becomes an everyday reality for consumers, rather than the technological curios that they currently are.  

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iPad with wireless projectors.

The summary of Apple’s invention is to “provide a portable computing device with dual detachable projectors that project two adjacent display screens. It is a further purpose of the present invention to provide a portable computing device as a remote control for projectors when they are detached from the tablet computer.” 

Apple continues, stating that “It is still a further purpose of the present invention to provide a system including a portable computing device and two detachable projectors, wherein positions of the projectors are adjustable in order to project two adjacent display screens on a display surface.” 
The wordiness and legalese-sounding patent speak adds that “It is still a further purpose of the present invention to provide a system including a portable computer and two detachable projectors, wherein at least video portion of a video file through the portable computing device in a synchronised manner controller by the computing device.”
Apple’s patent abstract also describes a tablet computer being”used as a remote control that controls an operation of delivering a video portion of the video file through the projectors and an audio portion through the tablet computer in a synchronised manner. 
“In one aspect, the two projectors may be positioned two project two adjacent screens that present different portions of images. In another embodiment, positions of the projectors attached to the tablet computer may be adjusted to deliver desired screens.”
While Apple has had this intriguing patent granted, the fast moving world of technology often see companies patent ideas for products that are not guaranteed to ever see the light of day. 

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Components of Apple’s wireless projector.

Some of those patents are used to extract licensing fees from other companies, some are used to misdirect competitors, while others are used to stake a claim for a product that’s on the drawing board for future release. 

Even though Apple doesn’t always turn all of its patents into products it’s always fascinating when Apple patents something new, as it delivers a glimpse into Apple’s thinking. 
It also often sees competitors to scramble in creating some kind of passable copy of what they think Apple might do next, where is where the potential for misdirection lies.
So, while micro projectors are a technology that is yet to still fully mature, iPads in 2015 may well be joined by new iProjectors to keep the people happy and the tills ticking over. 
No word yet on true holographic projectors as seen in the Star Wars movies though – perhaps Apple will have one of those patented in the not-too-distant future, too!

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Apple’s flowchart on how its iPad projectors will work.