There were 27 Apple patent applications published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Ten of those dealt with accessory functionality such as identification processes, communication techniques, application protocols and all manner of boredom. Yet one stood out from the pack. It's about an accessory transceiver that could provide a mobile device like the iPod touch with access to a mobile telephone network. Did that catch your attention?
With millions of iPod touch media players in the marketplace, the prospect of being able to provide them with telephonic capabilities via an accessory transceiver is rather an interesting development. According to Apple's patent, the accessory transceiver could be connected with the mobile device with either a physical connection or a wireless connection. In some embodiments, the mobile device could also include an internal wireless transceiver that could provide access to a different mobile telephone network. Thus, using the accessory transceiver could allow the mobile device to access two separate mobile telephone networks.
Accessory transceiver 213 could be any device capable of communicating with a wireless network. The accessory transceiver could be configured with circuitry to communicate with a mobile phone network, a WiFi network, a WiMax network, a satellite network, etc.
According to patent points 21 and 23, mobile device 100 noted above as an iPhone, could in fact be an iPod Touch or even an Android or Blackberry. It could also be a standalone digital camera, a game console, email device etc. It's patent point 23 which points to the iPod Touch where the accessory will make most sense in the short term.
In other embodiments, an accessory transceiver could provide access to wireless networks other than a telephonic network, for example, satellite networks, a WiFi network, etc. Moreover, the accessory transceiver could also be used to send text messages, SMS messages, emails, web packets, etc.
Network Operating Environments
Apple credits Paul Holden, Robert Borchers, Jesse Dorogusker, Emily Schubert and Stephen Chick as the inventors of patent application 20100234051, originally filed in Q1 2010.
Other Noteworthy Patent Applications Published Today
As stated in our introduction, there were ten patents covering accessory functionality. Below you'll find the nine remaining patents that fall into two distinct groups. Each group share a common set of graphics.
Group One Has Six Patents: Patent 20100235425 - Accessory and Mobile Computing Device Communications using an Application Communication Protocol; Patent 20100235552 - Accessory Interface to Portable Media Device using Sessions; Patent 20100233961 - Accessory and Mobile Computing Device Communication using an Application Communication Protocol; Patent 20100235373 - Automatic identification of Compatible Applications and Accessories; Patent 20100235454 - Application Communication with external Accessories; Patent 20100235518 - Connection to Multiple Accessories with Multiple Accessory-Specific Protocols.
The patents noted above add different types of future accessory possibilities, such as exercise equipment, glucose and other medical monitors, entertainment consoles associated with a plane, train, bus or car. Another avenue of accessory deals with all manner of sensors that cover light, motion, temperature, humidity, chemical (check for carbon monoxide etc.), blood pressure, heart rate etc.
Group Two Has Three Patents: Patent 2010023550 - Mobile Computing Device Capabilities for Accessories; Patents 20100231352 and 20100234068 - Accessory Identification for Mobile Computing Devices.
Patent: Smart Keyboard Management for a Multifunctional Device with a Touch Screen Display
Abstract: A method is performed at a multifunction device with a touch screen display. The method includes displaying a text entry interface with a soft keyboard in a first area and a viewing area with a first size to display scrollable information. The method detects a finger gesture on the viewing area, and responds to the gesture. When the viewing area displays only a portion of the information, the response includes: (1) ceasing to display the soft keyboard, (2) expanding the viewing area to a second size, including at least some of the first area, and (3) scrolling the information in the expanded viewing area. When the viewing area with the first size displays all of the information, the response includes: (1) maintaining display of the soft keyboard, (2) keeping the viewing area at the first size, and (3) moving the information in the viewing area based on the finger gesture.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any patent reviewed here today, simply feed the individual patent number(s) noted in this report into this search engine. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
Background Data: A 2009 patent provided us with a conceptual drawing of a USB accessory Apple has on record. It could be to add speakers or telephonic capabilities to an iPod.