The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 10 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The three notables that stood out from the pack this morning include one for Apple's workflow Automator, Apple's keyboard with numeric pad design and a patent covering the laminated window assembly for devices like the iPhone and iPad. In addition to granted patents, Apple has filed for three US trademarks this morning covering their new Final Cut Pro X, Motion and Compressor icons.
Apple is Granted a Design Patent for their Keyboard with Numeric Pad
With Apple recently killing off Final Cut Express and de-emphasizing the PC, you have to wonder if the numeric keyboard has a future with Apple. Considering that Apple will be introducing new seamless multi-touch gesturing integration into OS X Lion this fall, perhaps Apple will replace the classic numeric pad area of their keyboard with an integrated Magic Pad. That would only seem like the right move here.
Today, the Magic Pad is an accessory. Apple could just switch it out: meaning, make the Magic Pad a standard part of the Apple Keyboard and make the numeric pad an accessory. Time will tell.
Apple credits CEO Steve Jobs, VP Industrial Design Jonathan Ive and team members Bartley Andre, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Richard Howarth, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas Satzger, Calvin Seid, Vincent Keane, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer as the inventors of Granted Patent D640,695.
Apple is Granted a Patent Relating to Laminated Display Windows
Apple has been granted another classic 2007 iPhone patent. This time it relates to a laminated window assembly used on the display window of iOS devices. While originally crafted for the original iPhone, the patent illustrations demonstrate that Apple was already thinking of their future iPad.
Apple's patent background states that the objective of the invention it to provide a glass display window in iOS devices that is more resistant to scratching than most plastic windows while being more suitable for certain types of touch-sensitive displays.
The traditional method used in manufacturing is lamination which is frequently accomplished by using a clear adhesive. However, many adhesives, while having high shear strength, have lower peel strength. Thus, any event, such as dropping of the device tends to separate the layers at the edges and cause delamination by peeling. This is particularly true if the laminated window structure is deformed at its corner, where the peel strength is lowest. Delamination is undesirable because it may compromise the strength of the laminated window or introduce defects into the visible area of the window, or, if there is a greater degree of delamination, it may create a safety hazard.
In accordance with Apple's invention, delamination resistance of a laminated display window is increased by reducing the susceptibility of the laminated layers to peel along the edge, in the corners, or both. Thus, in addition to whatever method is used to bond the layers to one another, an adhesive may be placed in the corners or along part or all of the periphery of the outer window layer where the lip formed by the lower layer protrudes. This adhesive strengthens the bonding along those edges or in those corners, resisting delamination.
Preferably, where the adhesive is used along the periphery, a channel or chamfer may be formed in which the adhesive is placed. This gives the adhesive more surface area to which to bond, and also decreases the risk of oozing of displaced adhesive. The channel or chamfer may be formed in one of the layers, and preferably in the lower, larger layer, or in the surrounding structure of the handheld device, such as in the display bezel.
In addition, holes or gaps may be formed in the lip adjacent the edges and/or corners of the window glass to provide strain relief. If the lip were to be deformed by an event, it would not, at least in the areas of the holes or gaps, pull on the interface between the layers, thereby avoiding peeling apart the layers. The percentage of the periphery in which such holes or gaps are formed should not be so large that the lip is unable to reliably perform its function of retaining the window in the bezel. Preferably, such holes or gaps are formed only in the corners, and in any event are not formed along more than about 33% of the periphery.
Apple credits Stephen Zadesky, Tang Tan, John Filson and Stephen Lynch as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,966,785, originally filed in Q3 2007. Knowing Apple, there's a good chance that the described process has already been replaced by yet more advanced processes. Apple was granted a more important 2007 iPhone patent last week which seemed to get under the skin of a few community pundits. At times, I find it quite humorous as to what irks some people.
Apple Files Trademarks in the US for Final Cut Pro X, Motion & Compressor
Apple has filed for three trademarks in the US this morning as follows: Final Cut Pro X (application 85352378), Motion (application 85352380 ) and Compressor (application 85352382). As noted in our June 21, 2011 trademark report, Apple's priority filings are those that were filed in Europe. Here's Apple new Final Cut Pro X webpage.
Other Granted Patents Published Today
One: Automatic Execution Flow Ordering: Apple's invention pertains to computer programming, and, more particularly, to a visual programming tool for a computing apparatus. This 2004 patent likely relates to Apple's Automator.
Two: Connector assembly
Three: Methods and Systems for Managing Data
Four: Non-blocking address switch with shallow per agent queues
Five: Synchronized transmission of audio and video data from a computer to a client via an interface
Six: Complexity-aware encoding
Seven: Method and apparatus for color correction of color devices for various operating conditions
Eight: Partial display updates in a windowing system using a programmable graphics processing unit
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted 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. Patents shouldn't be digested as rumors or fast-tracked according to rumor time tables.
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