Apple files its stupidest patent ever - Macenstein

Apple files its stupidest patent ever

Well, no wonder Tony Fadell left Apple. His latest patent Dubbed “Digital Theater” may be the stupidest patent I have ever read, and I have read three patents.

The idea is that using software, various Apple handheld devices could mimic the experience of being at a live movie or sporting event by being able to pick a seat in a virtual theater or stadium from which to view the event. The software would then skew the screen to match the perspective you would have if you chose those seats. So, if you wanted to watch a baseball game from horrible seats in the nosebleed section (and why wouldn’t you) you could.

But that isn’t really the stupid part. Sure it’s a useless “Let’s do it because we can” kind of exercise in technology, but it’s a harmless gimmick one would hope would be optional. However, where it really gets ridiculous is this line from AppleInsider:

“To further enhance the user’s belief that he or she is in the selected theater with other patrons, the personal display device may display outlines of other patrons in addition to the outlines of the theater. The outlines of other patrons could be operative to move to further increase the realism of the display. “

OK, so, has Apple completely missed the idea behind the home theater revolution? People spend tens of thousands of dollars in order to get AWAY from other people. Nobody with a kickass home theater system complains that there is not a tall person sitting in front of them and they can see too much of the film. I can only assume the ability to add the sounds of crying children, candy wrappers being crinkled, whispering, and the sensation that a fat person sitting in front of you is leaning back and crushing your legs are also on the table.

Oh, and don’t forget a kid kicking the back of your set, because it ain’t a movie without that.

Actually, as stupid as all that is, what is perhaps even more baffling is that Apple says this technology is geared towards “handheld devices”. So, on your iPod touch, with its HUGE screen… do you want to skew the image, shrink it, and and add some silhouettes of people’s heads in front? Will you really feel like you’re at the movies?

Assuming you hold the touch 3 inches from your face, maybe. But the real question is do you WANT to feel like you’re at the movies? Apple seems to have forgotten that people are annoying and inconsiderate by nature, and if you put a large amount of them together, they will ruin any type of performance. That’s the main reason I shell out $13 a month to Blockbuster online.

13 Responses to “Apple files its stupidest patent ever”
  1. Jonro says:

    This was one of the problems with DVD Audio and SACD. Recording engineers could place you anyplace they wanted. I had one recording where I figured that I was probably listening from somewhere behind the lead guitarist but in front of the drummer. It was stupid and made for an unenjoyable listening experience. Just put us front row center, the best seats in the house.

  2. Alex says:

    They have to have something more in mind than what is let on in the description. If I were to guess, it’s almost like a 3D version of Google Earth, where you could just replace the audience with trees, buildings, etc.

    This kind of patent description is probably used to fool the people who have to approve them. The patent implies a hidden broader use.

  3. Phelix says:

    If you put a device over each eye, you get 3D!

  4. dizzy says:

    In the way you describe it, it does seem pretty pointless, but I have to agree with Alex on this one that it will be applied where it makes sense. I just can’t see apple pushing a technology on people just because it has a cool gimmick effect that is cool for all of 30 seconds…but who knows I’m usually wrong when it comes to predicting apple 🙂

  5. Booba says:

    Fadell is not gone, he’ll still get 300 000$ per year as consultant plus every high ranked senior…

  6. Pietro says:

    Perfect, just what I need. Just add a random timer and have a shadow get up and go to and return from the bathroom (for more realism, add sounds of coughing, tinkling and flushing as well as creaky restroom doors – all to occur at critical scenes). Note to advertisers, add in ad themes songs, passerby’s with glowing logos patches on shirts … ad nauseam)

  7. Matt says:

    I think Apple is simply covering themselves since they perceive something 5+ years down the road using an offshoot of this idea. I strongly doubt they’d use it as is but also augment the patent at a latter date.

    And don’t underestimate the novelty of this. After all, you can take a plane across the ocean or continent, or take a ocean liner over the sea or train over land. Yes, it’s a novelty but I’m sure Apple isn’t against making money on novelty.

  8. tman says:

    Here’s hoping they can also perfect the synthesis of smells from fellow theatregoers!

  9. media_lush says:

    actually this makes perfect sense to me and has already been done (in a fashion) in the UK by Sony. the idea is you get your sense of place in a virtual stadium where the virtual stadium is precisely matched to the real life stadium. at the Arsenal football ground you can apparently rent psp’s with some kind of software on them that gives you a virtual tour of the stadium with loads of other info that’s custom designed to the seat you’re sitting in.

    if you take this a stage further you could have streamed concerts or sports events where your view depends on your virtual seat and you could invite your real life buddies next to you or in front or whatever…. make it private or give yourself a public monitor and talk to people near you, comment on the events etc…. kind of like Sims meets the real world.

    as I said, it makes perfect sense to me…..

  10. MacSheikh says:

    Maybe later they’ll also throw in the mobile phone sounds, crying baby sounds, people talking sounds & more – for free! 🙂

  11. Get some blowup dolls to sit in front of you.

  12. Grabaslab says:

    Wel guys, how about the utmate in CrippleWare? Apple starts selling live events (e.g sports like boxing matches and football games, or, egad, wwf) through the itunes store, and pricing is dependent on the “virtual” seating you get – Worst seat in the house=cheapest. I wonder if you would pay more or less for sitting behind Yao Ming………

  13. Joe says:

    I seriously laughed through the entire article. Your sarcasm towards this patent was priceless. My favorite part:

    “I can only assume the ability to add the sounds of crying children, candy wrappers being crinkled, whispering, and the sensation that a fat person sitting in front of you is leaning back and crushing your legs are also on the table.”

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