The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 12 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today which includes 3 design patents covering Apple's Magic Mouse retail packaging, the iTunes icon used on all iOS devices and the OS X spinning cursor symbol. The meatier granted patents of the day relate to ambient light sensors used in Apple's notebooks, Apple's OS X Dashboard feature and several iPod related patents covering the inner mechanics of the device.
Three Granted Design Patents
Apple has been granted three design patents for July 6, 2010, which includes one for their Magic Mouse retail packing (D618,999), another for their iTunes Icon (D619,144) used on iOS devices and finally one for the OS X Spinning Cursor (D619,143)
Apple has been granted patent 7,752,556 for their Dashboard System for widget workflow. Apple describes Dashboard this way: "Not everything you do on your Mac requires a heavy-duty application. For those smaller tasks, Mac OS X features Dashboard, a semi-transparent layer that floats above your desktop at the press of a key, and provides access to several fun and functional, mini applications called widgets." For more see Dashboard 101.
Apple Granted Patent for a Dual Purpose Ambient Light Sensor
Apple has been granted patent 7,750,282 which generally relates to a dual purpose ambient light sensor located in the lids of both the MacBook and MacBook Air products for the purposes of aiding in controlling the brightness of the illuminators of these devices. The ambient light sensor may be mounted in such a way as to detect ambient light when the MacBook is opened or closed so that the device may control the brightness of the illuminators of the MacBook, whether the illuminators are mounted on the outer or inner shell of the MacBook. Further, when the display is closed, the sensitivity of the ambient light sensor may be adjusted appropriately to account for the lesser amount of light that may reach the sensor. Finally, a spacer or light pipe may be provided to allow ambient light to reach the sensor to provide an accurate ambient light reading when the device is in the closed position.
Apple Granted Several iPod Related Patents
Apple has been granted several patents relating to iPod assembly which include the following:
Support Tabs for Protecting a Circuit Board from Applied Forces (7,751,199): Apple's invention relates to the iPod having one or more support tabs that protect a circuit board disposed inside from externally applied compressive forces. In particular, when a force is applied to a housing of the iPod, the support tabs could buttress the housing either directly or through other intervening components disposed within the iPod, to reduce the likelihood that the housing or intervening components will contact and damage the circuit board. See patent figures 2, 3A and 3C below.
Multi-Connector Assembly (7,751,198): Apple's invention relates to methods and apparatus for constraining multiple connectors in an iPod (or other electronic devices) in one or more degrees of freedom. See patent figure 2 below which illustrates and exploded view of some of the components related to the iPod in relation to this patent.
Female Receptacle Data Pin Connector (7,751,853): The third granted patent in this group generally relates to a media player system. One aspect of the media player system pertains to a docking station that allows a media player to communicate with other media devices. Another aspect of the media player system pertains to a wireless media player system that includes a hand held media player capable of transmitting information over a wireless connection and one or more media devices capable of receiving information over the wireless connection. Another aspect of the media player system pertains to a method of wirelessly connecting the hand held media player to another device. The method includes selecting a media item on the hand held media player; selecting one or more remote recipients on the hand held media player; and transmitting the media item locally to the hand held media player, and wirelessly to the selected remote recipients. Another aspect of the media player system pertains to a hand held music player that includes a transmitter for transmitting information over a wireless connection. The transmitter is configured to at least transmit a continuous music feed to one or more personal tuning devices that each includes a receiver capable of receiving information from the transmitter over the wireless connection. Yet another aspect of the media player system pertains to a connector that includes a housing and a plurality of spatially separated contacts mounted within the housing. A first set of contacts are directed at a first functionality and a second set of contacts are directed at a second functionality that is different than the first functionality.
Other Granted Patents (GP) Published Today
GP - 7,751,475 - Arbitrary-Resolution, Extreme-Quality Video Codec
Apple's invention provides a system and method for encoding video that yields very high quality images while smoothly playing at full video speeds. Image data is first converted by the present invention from the RGB domain into a gamma-powered YUV domain. A wavelet transform then separates image data into high- and low-detail sectors, incorporating a dynamic scaling method, which allows for optimal resolution, i.e. an optimal number of bits in wavelet results, per-sector, and enhances the resolution of all sectors. The output data from the wavelet transform is then quantized according to an entropy-prediction algorithm that tightly controls the final size of the processed image. An adaptive Golomb engine next performs a compression step, using an adaptive form of Golomb encoding in which mean values are variable across the data. The use of variable mean values reduces the deleterious effects found in conventional Golomb encoding in which localized regions of similar data are inefficiently coded if their bit values are uncommon in the data as a whole.
GP - 7,752,366 - Non-Blocking Address Switch with Shallow per Agent Queues
Apple's invention generally relates to the field of integrated circuits and, more particularly, to arbitration mechanisms for interconnect within and/or between integrated circuits.
GP - 7,752,391 - Variable Caching Policy System and Method
As technology enables people to listen to music using MP3 players, carry digital pictures on portable hard drives, and save large word processing files on USB (Universal Serial Bus) pen drives, consumers want these portable devices to transfer the data quickly and reliably. Apple's granted patent relates to a system and method for modifying a caching policy for received data.
GP - 7,752,474 - L1 Cache Flush when Processor is Entering Low Power Mode
As the power consumption of processors has increased, implementation of power management modes in processors has become increasing important. In many systems, the power supply is at least sometimes a battery or other stored-charge supply. Maximizing battery life in such systems is often a key selling feature. Additionally, even in systems that have effectively limitless power (e.g. systems plugged into a wall outlet), the challenges of cooling the processors and other circuits in the system may be reduced if the processors can be placed in low power modes when full processing power is not needed.
Apple's granted patent provides a solution that relates to the field of processors and, more particularly, to handling caches and cache coherency in power management modes in processors.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or Issued Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any granted patent noted above that is not directly linked, simply feed the individual patent number(s) provided, minus the "GP" suffix (if present) into this search engine. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
Photo Credit: The Magic Mouse photo portion of our Design Patents Graphic is from TiPb's review of the Magic Mouse.