Not all patents could be about electronic wallets, integrated solar panels in a future iPhone or flying cars – although I wish they were, believe me. No – sometimes patents are simply about the little things that could add a new dimension to an existing product. For instance, Apple has just added a new sit-and-spin door to their latest iteration of the Mac mini. The fact is that Apple's new removable bottom panel was actually conceived back in 2005 for another application all together.
The Sit-and-Spin Door
The sit-and-spin door patent concept was conceived back in 2005 and made public in July 2007 as part of a bottom accessing optical drive module that Apple was working on at the time. It was likely originally aimed at the MacBook Air and then later dropped for whatever reason.
But that's okay, because someone remembered this little gem of an idea and decided to dig it up out of Apple's patent graveyard and give it new life. The resurrected idea appears to work like a charm in Apple's new Mac mini and it's a patented concept at that.
And let's be honest, the idea could conceivably be further utilized in a future version of Apple TV and so the little idea is now a 2 for 1 deal. And who knows: If Apple's iMac displays get any larger - they could, in theory, utilize a form of this door, to say, make it possible to upgrade your video card easily. Some may groan at this idea and Steve Jobs probably just passed out at the mere idea of something marring his work of art – Ha! Okay - Sometimes you just have to quit while you're ahead.
Apple's 2007 patent stated the following: "Referring now to FIG. 39 [noted above], therein is shown a view of the portable … but equipped with a sit-and-spin door 3900…" "The sit-and-spin door 3900 has a locking configuration similar to a bayonet attachment, with tabs 3902 that pass through slots 3904. The sit-and-spin door 3900 is then rotated between locked and unlocked positions, and when removed from the housing base, is entirely separated therefrom. The sit-and-spin door 3900 thus has the advantage that it does not have a vulnerable hinge and does not require space for protection inside the housing base…"
Apple credits Gregory Springer, Chris Ligtenberg, Bartley Andre and Bret Degner as the inventors of patent application 20070019374, originally filed in Q3 2005. Chalk up another Apple patent concept fulfilled.
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