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Apple Granted Patent on Methods for Dimming Screens Based on Content Needs

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today officially granted Apple a patent (via AppleInsider) describing methods for automatically adjusting screen brightness to suit the content being displayed. The patent, which was originally filed for in mid-2006 and can actually be traced back to a separate 2002 application, addresses techniques for saving battery life on portable devices.
The improved techniques reduce power consumption by lowering display intensity at appropriate times. In one embodiment, the display intensity can be controlled depending on the type of content being displayed. For example, when displaying certain types of content, the display intensity can be lowered from its otherwise high, constant intensity level. In another embodiment, the display intensity can be controlled depending on the characteristics of the content being displayed. For example, when displaying images that are light, the display intensity can be lowered from its otherwise high, constant intensity level. In still another embodiment, the display intensity can be controlled depending on the type and characteristics of content being displayed.
Apple's battery-powered devices have long had the capability to automatically dim displays based on such criteria as power source (battery vs. wall power), ambient light levels and usage (dimming the display of a device that hasn't been used for a particular time interval). Dimming the screen based on content, such as when a particularly bright image is displayed, requires a more sophisticated approach, something that Apple has clearly been working on for some time.


Apple actually now uses a variation on this invention for its Passbook application in iOS 6 for the iPhone, automatically boosting the display's brightness to maximum when the app is launched in order to make it easier for scanners to read the 2D barcodes used on passes within the app.

The patent suggests that Apple's plans for content-sensitive automatic brightness adjustment could even extend as far as frame-by-frame or scene-by-scene adjustments when viewing videos, with users also being able to configure their own preferences for content-based brightness.

Top Rated Comments

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21 months ago
OH MY GOD! APPLE JUST PATENTED DIMMING THE SCREEN!

Sorry for that everyone. Just wanted to get the unnecessary panic out of the way. Resume your regular discussions. :rolleyes:
Rating: 14 Votes
21 months ago

And this is why Apple is still regarded as the best. Instead of focusing 100% on specs they focus on smaller things that create a much more solid experience and speed up performance. e.g. dual core iP5 out benchmarking quad core S3


Have you even read about features for other phones out there? I like Apple as well but I wouldn't call them the best!
Rating: 10 Votes
21 months ago
iChat with mom -> dim screen to 0%
porn -> 100% brightness.
Rating: 7 Votes
21 months ago
And this is why Apple is still regarded as the best. Instead of focusing 100% on specs they focus on smaller things that create a much more solid experience and speed up performance. e.g. dual core iP5 out benchmarking quad core S3
Rating: 6 Votes
21 months ago

And this is why Apple is still regarded as the best. Instead of focusing 100% on specs they focus on smaller things that create a much more solid experience and speed up performance. e.g. dual core iP5 out benchmarking quad core S3


The stock Android clock has had this feature for a few years.

But sure, now a patent has been published in Apple's name, they're the innovative ones...
Rating: 5 Votes
21 months ago

And this is why Apple is still regarded as the best. Instead of focusing 100% on specs they focus on smaller things that create a much more solid experience and speed up performance. e.g. dual core iP5 out benchmarking quad core S3


Wow, you really gotta get out more.
Ever heard of Smart Stay, Smart Alarm, Direct Call, etc..?
BTW, these are features that already exist on an eight month old phone, the Galaxy S3. Yeah, unlike Apple, Samsung has focused on the little things too, but without ignoring specs. ;)
Rating: 4 Votes
21 months ago
My flat screen already has this... its called movie and sports mode. :apple: should go sue them now.
Rating: 4 Votes
21 months ago

Although this seems like a simple thing to patent, imagine if Apple didn't patent it and everyone just started copying it? Then there would be no more innovation from other companies to create other battery saving methods with software or hardware? We always see these things as trivial but if everyone used the same methods and implementations, what differentiates one company's products from another's? Apple's R&D department might was well be Samsung or Google's.


That's why we have competition. Businesses need to distinguish themselves to attract customers, low costs and innovation being important factors to that end. I'm sure that many of these 'innovations' would find their way into the product at some point, regardless of whether the competition copies it. I agree that important technological inventions must be protected to some extent, but if you lower the bar to seemingly obvious ideas, you create an artificial monopoly that cannot be good for business in general. This patent here is not even an invention, it is creative and functional at best. It just strikes me that such petty ideas can be patented in the US. No wonder that businesses have gone crazy with infringement actions.
Rating: 3 Votes
21 months ago
Dimming the display to reduce power is patent worthy?

They have a patent on an ON/OFF switch too?
Rating: 3 Votes
21 months ago

And this is why Apple is still regarded as the best. Instead of focusing 100% on specs they focus on smaller things that create a much more solid experience and speed up performance. e.g. dual core iP5 out benchmarking quad core S3


I HIGHLY doubt the dual core IP5 benches higher than the quad core S3, considering the fact that both processors use Samsung's fabrication technology and Apple is known to use the lowest quality parts available. Not just that, Samsung saves their best technology for their own devices, not their competitors'.
I know the IP5 is faster than the dual-core S3, but that's because Samsung's 4 core exynos was incompatible with US LTE networks, so Samsung had to settle for Qualcomm's processors.

Edit: I was right and you were wrong.
http://www.extremetech.com/computing/136291-iphone-5-benchmarks-slower-than-the-galaxy-s3-faster-than-the-nexus-7

Also, I think this whole "experience" rationalization is a subtle acceptance that Android is superior to iOS that many Apple lovers can't fully admit yet. When you have to resort to vague, innumerate measures to determine which OS is better, then you know you're just pulling crap out of your rear. Also, the iPhone experience is definitely NOT solid, especially with all the crashing, lagging and stuttering when you want to do simple things.
Furthermore, I suggest you read this and put some time to take it all in.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2012/02/02/does-ios-crash-more-than-android-a-data-dive/
It's gonna be hard to swallow for an Apple fanatic, but I trust that you can persevere and speak truth and not BS once you break free from the Apple reality-distortion field.
Rating: 3 Votes

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