Alleged Apple trademark filings reveal 'Iris Engine,' 'AirPod Case,' 'Home Hub,' 'Control Strip,' 'Smart Button'
A wide array of international trademark filings allegedly connected to Apple could reveal the branding for new products and services, with possible ties to rumored features in the "iPhone 7," "AirPods" wireless headphones, and redesigned MacBook Pro.
Trademark attorney Brian Conroy contacted AppleInsider on Tuesday with a list of trademarks that Apple is said to have filed internationally for what could be upcoming products. Amongst the trademarks are known Apple product names, like Siri, Breathe, the True Tone Display as found in the iPad Pro series, macOS Sierra with several associated spellings, and the phrase "designed by Apple in California" as seen on nearly every Apple product.
However, also listed in Apple trademark document are other phrases not immediately identifiable. Listed by Conroy as particularly notable are a mysterious "Iris Engine" and variants, plus registrations for a "Smart Button," "Touch Bar," "Progress Card", and "Swift Lab."
Also notable are "AirPod Case," "Control Strip," "Home Hub," and "iBooks Storytime."
Patents are also labeled with a "six months seniority expires" date. Should Apple not utilize a patent before the seniority expires, then the trademark is released.
"Apple's process for keeping their upcoming stuff secret is to apply for trademarks in secret far flung places," Conroy told AppleInsider. "About four days (usually) before the six months period runs out they apply globally."
Conroy is a patent solicitor (attorney) in Ireland associated with Rennick Solicitors. He was responsible for first publishing information on the "Death Trooper" trademark for the character soon to be seen in "Star Wars - Rogue One," as well as the first reveal of the "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" trademark.
A ticking clock
The process described by Conroy is reminiscent of the Apple shell company Entertainment in Flight, said to be an Apple shell company for the "AirPods" trademark.
Trademark applications for "Trade Up," "Swift Lab," "Progress Card," "Insight Dashboard," "Care Card," and "Remote Loop" expire in September.
Several macOS Sierra applications expire in October. Additionally, "Touch Bar," and variants of "Smart Button" also expire in October.
"Iris Engine" could apply to the rumored Apple iris scanning technology. Intel integrated graphics on some CPUs are also referred to as Iris or Iris Pro graphics. Another possible interpretation is new capabilities related to the advanced camera systems expected for Apple's "iPhone 7" series.
"Smart Button" could be related to Apple's rumored implementation of a 3D Touch home button, with embedded Touch ID sensor.
A "Home Hub" could also refer to new HomeKit-specific hardware. Earlier this year it was said that Apple is working on a standalone speaker to compete with Amazon Echo, though it was said such hardware may not arrive until 2017.
"AirPods" are the expected branding for Apple's wireless earbuds. It's possible the "AirPods" could require a case accessory for charging, much like existing headphones from companies like Bragi.
The MacBook Pro OLED touch-sensitive function bar reports could be referred to as a "Touch Bar" or the "Control Strip" as seen in the trademark documentation.
With new Macs not expected to be announced this week, it's possible that some of the alleged Apple trademark filings may not become official at the company's Wednesday event. It's believed that this week's presentation will focus on the "iPhone 7" series, second-generation Apple Watch with GPS, and corresponding accessories like headphones and watch bands.
Wednesday's keynote will begin at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, Calif. AppleInsider will have full, live coverage and analysis.