California - Patent application 20110195187 describes an invention entitled "Direct Liquid Vaporization for Oleophobic Coatings." While the title of the invention has little hope of becoming a household name, it's likely that Apple's new fingerprint-less screens will make their way into millions of households. According to Patently Apple, the application filed February of this year describes a method of applying an 'oleophobic' substance to the screen of any Apple iOS device during manufacturing. This process would create a fingerprint resistant coat on the screen of the device capable of repelling the oil and particles from our hands that create cosmetically unfavorable and visually obstructive smudges. The invention would certainly create a captivating marketing platform for Apple, but larger implications arise concerning how competitors will work around the patent to maintain the viability of their products within what some are calling a 'patent war.' Apple will have a have new weapon if they control the licensing of a process that renders fingerprints a thing of the past.
Patent application 20110194230 comes to us from the mind of Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, who has created a method of protecting cell phones from impact damage by equipping them with airbags. The application filed February of 2010, made public earlier this month, details a system in which the phone detects a sudden increase in acceleration when the phone is accidentally dropped by its user and deploys airbags to prevent a damaging impact with the ground. It's difficult not to snicker at the thought of airbag-deploying cell phone, but the application also suggests substituting the airbags with springs or gas propulsion, and if they are able to find an effective method, the precautionary equipment would prove to be valuable to many fumbling consumers who spend hundreds of dollars annually on replacement phones. However, the money saved will likely be applied to increased price of cell phones containing this preventative technology. It will be interesting to see whether airbags become the industry standard or simply a short-lived novelty item.