Didn't this already exist?
We spent all that tech and money on displays which had ever wider viewing angles and now they want to go backwards again :)
Apple has filed a patent application for a way to vary the viewing angle of a display, and thus allow you to better protect your viewing privacy. The system in patent application number 20110116017, "Systems and methods for electronically controlling the viewing angle of a display", offers a number of examples – or, in …
I can't be the only one bothered by people peering over one's shoulder while I'm watching Gorilla Action... Wouldn't it be possible to simply hook up some LCD spectacles? If you can touch-type this would seem to be an answer (other than watching movies of course).
Oh, and err, the 'Cone of Privacy™' - nice one. I assume someone at El Reg was a fan of Get Smart and the infamous 'Cone of Silence'. Still, to me, one of the funniest things I've seen...
This appears to be an electronically adjustable (or selectable) louvre filter. (Fixed louvre filters have been available for many years).
The method or technique seems to be the selection of one of two (or more) light pathways, that have different 'louvre' characteristics. Fine - but - anybody with a bit of experience of LCD type displays could have thought of that.
Have they actually developed these little switchable filter cells? I suspect not.
Isn't it the case that a patent application requires the existence of a working model or process?
I would like to patent a light filter cell (or sheet) that varies it's angle of light transmittance over a very wide range with the application of a small, variable d.c. voltage. No, of course I haven't made one. All I need to do is think about it and patent it then anybody who does manage to develop one has to pay me.
> Isn't it the case that a patent application requires the existence of a working model or process?
Nope. You patent the detailed design, not the implementation. No need to even build a prototype, although it might be better if you did have to.
If the design is too general they aren't supposed to grant the patent, and even if they do it's usually easy to challenge.
Page after page of dry repettitive descriptions which, when you can finally discern the useful ino and put it together into a coherent picture, could have occupied a mere fag packet. The only thing I could get out of it was that Claim 4, which includes "...third axis that is perpendicular to both the first axis and the second axis", seems to be decribing a three-dimensional arrangement of scattering regions (??).
Anyway, I don't need privacy this way - if anyone is sitting that close I'm inhibitted anyway and couldn't even compose a shopping list.
I bought the security foil as the same time as I bought my (then very new) 3GS. The novelty is thus in the fact that the display itself will have some sort of secure mode, which is interesting as you stop having to stick fiddly bits of plastic on devices, and it can used as needed.
Considering the mix of specific and generic devices listed in the applications to which this patent might be applied, the handheld gaming console is conspicuous by it's absence.
One wonders if this is because Nintendo already patented a similar method for adjusting the viewing distance on the 3DS screen for that use and forgot to include all the other possible applications.
Couldn't they just use a REALLY crap LCD panel with a horrible viewing angle?
I had an HP tablet PC like that. I loved it, before the iPad came out, and I sold it to get one.
The iPad has a very solid, aluminium back. I sugges that if anyone's gawping over your shoulder, they should get one warning, and then you just beat them to death with it. Problem solved.
It's also quite well shaped for scraping out shallow graves. Though this does tend to scratch the screen...
Now any time you see somebody using a computer with what looks like a dark screen you will think they've got something to hide and move round to get a better view. To defeat that I have just this minute invented a lenticular screen that displays a different image to shoulder surfers on either side, showing some innocent non-attention-grabbing kind of display.
EAT MY PRIOR ART, STEVE.
That's what i was thinking but I think that was a fixed angle display. Also i think this is more about 3D, imagine you have a front facing camera that can detect where you are looking (fighter jets already have that tech) then by controlling the viewing angle of each pixel you should be able to fake 3D without the eye and brain strain.
Anyone can say "Oh, we can make a privacy-protecting screen, using tiny pixel-sized beam steerers, if only there was such a thing as tiny pixel-sized beam steerers", but until you've actually invented tiny pixel-sized beam steerers, you haven't invented fuck all.
Yet another fraudulent abuse of the patent system by someone who hasn't invented something but has just come up with a "Oh, wouldn't it be nice if..." bunch of wishful thinking.
You may not understand this but in many cases it is required that you actually come up with an idea as to how to do something before you make something. This is what is generally know as R&D or research and development. Contrary to your belife the patent system is not about products but ideas, that is the sharing of ideas. People are given a limited time monopoly on new ideas (hence prior art) as long as they share the idea with others.
People witter on about privacy this and privacy that, and company giants file fantasy patents to solve the problem (one would wish dearly that "working prototype" was a pre-patent requirement).
The solution is much simpler and won't affect your display quality...
...do your private stuff in private. Is that so hard now?
with a viewing angle wider than 360 degrees.
Stick-on protectors (ooh er missus) aren't exactly rare, and it's much easier to swap them by hand than it is to embed an Objective-C class in Cocoa to support a feature on an Apple display that's going to impress exactly thirteen people, and - for all anyone knows - one confused badger.
@frank ly and Steve X, nope, there doesn't have to be a working prototype. Even worse, at least here in the US, it seems patents don't even need to have a description of how a prototype would probably be built anymore. People will come up with these ideas, patent them, without the vaguest clue on how the patent would POSSIBLY be implemented. So then, by the time some actually, you know, INVENTS something, it's absolutely coated in patents. Damned unfortunate.
This specific patent is at least REASONABLY detailed, but I do feel like at least a 1-pixel prototype should be, if not built, then at least schematic'ed out specifically. I'm working on a provisional patent and I "practice what I preach" -- I have a fully functional reference implementation.