The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a newly granted patent for Apple Inc. today that sounds like a real winner. The patent points to a MacBook using a clutch barrel structure that supports both a cellular antenna and rotatable display. This officially announces to the Wintel camp that Apple now has the ability to match or beat the Ultrabook design that is to come to market in 2013 with the Haswell processor. Now we just have to applaud loud enough so as to send Apple a clear message that we want a MacBook Tablet combination device. I mean – why should the Wintel camp have all the fun with their upcoming notebook-tablet with Windows 8 and their new touch-based Metro UI? The iPad is Apple's thunder and they should naturally extend it through to a future MacBook or MacBook Air.
Apple Wins a Patent for a Clutch Barrel Antenna Structure for MacBooks
Apple has received a Granted Patent that relates to a MacBook that could utilize a unique Clutch Barrel antenna structure. The design hold two interesting features. The first is that the clutch barrel antenna structure could carry 3G capabilities allowing a MacBook to offer telephonic services. The Telephonic MacBook was thought to be first introduced last August, but we now see with this newly granted patent, that this project may have started as early as 2008. Since that time, Apple has been aggressively filing patent applications throughout 2010 and 2011 (one, two, three and four). It's a forming trend that is certainly illustrating that Apple's industrial design team, lead by Jony Ive, is trying different approaches in creating the perfect Telephonic MacBook.
Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs allows us to see that Jony Ive and team create cool 3D models of future products for the executive team to inspect, touch and play with so as to get a sense of what it's like to hold a device or see a new hardware feature and so on. It was a serene place that Jobs loved to wonder around in and unwind, while being delighted at what the future roadmap looked like. The book describes how well this design haven is protected and only a handful of executives ever get to enter.
The second attribute of today's invention is that a hinge structure would allow a MacBook to "rotate relative to the base of the laptop computer." This is very much like the second or third generation Ultrabook design spec that will allow an Ultrabook to transform into a tablet for simple reading, surfing and/or scribbling with a Smart Pen.
Interestingly, today's 2008 patent discussing the rotational aspect of the MacBook's display falls in line with their 2008 secret MacBook Tablet idea. Yes, there are two very different approaches here as to how the MacBook-Tablet idea could play out – which again is something presented in Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs: The idea of having two competing teams working on the same project but with differing approaches. In this case, one team was shown to be working on a slide mechanism for a MacBook Tablet and now we see another team working on the same idea but with a smarter rotatable display to achieve the same ends.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an illustrative wireless electronic device such as a laptop computer that may be provided with antenna structures; FIG. 3 is a perspective view an illustrative antenna formed from two different types of antenna element within a portable electronic device housing structure such as a clutch barrel.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of an illustrative laptop computer having a housing portion such as a clutch barrel in which antenna structures; FIG. 14 is an exploded perspective view of a portion of a portable electronic device housing and associated antenna structures
Apple's patent FIG. 3 from a secondary supportive patent, we see a perspective view an illustrative antenna and transceiver mounted within the clutch barrel of a portable electronic device such as a laptop computer; The secondary patent's patent FIG. 7 noted above is a perspective view of an illustrative antenna and transceiver mounted within a compact portion of an electronic device housing such as the clutch barrel of a portable computer.
Apple's First Claim: Clutch barrel antenna structures in the clutch barrel of a laptop computer, comprising: a singular clutch barrel antenna support structure in the clutch barrel; and at least first and second antenna elements of different types mounted to the singular antenna support structure that form a clutch barrel antenna, wherein the first antenna element comprises at least first and second slots. Apple's Second Claim: The clutch barrel antenna structures defined in claim 1 wherein the second antenna element is of a type selected from the group of antenna types consisting of: a planar inverted-F antenna (PIFA), an inverted-F antenna, a slot antenna, and a hybrid PIFA-slot antenna.
Apple's granted patent which is titled "Clutch barrel antenna for wireless electronic devices" was originally filed in Q3 2008. Apple credits Enrique Vazquez, Hao Xu, Gregory Springer, Bing Chiang, Eduardo Camacho and Douglas Kough. Also see our New MacBook-Telephonic Archives for more information on this topic.
And one last point. Steve Jobs, according to his biography, knew that the iPhone would cannibalize the iPod. But if they didn't do it, then their competitors would. The same is true for the future Ultrabook that will sport the Haswell processor and more importantly, support a rotatable display to allow a notebook to transform into a tablet for leisurely reading etc. Likewise, Apple has to offer a notebook-tablet alternative product or risk having their iPad sales erode at an accelerated pace. With a combo unit, Apple will be able to justify dropping iPad sales if their MacBook-Tablet is the direct beneficiary.
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Here are a Few Great Community Sites covering our Original Report
MacSurfer, RealClearTechnology, Intellectual Property Daily, Digg, Tech Spy, Tweakers (Dutch), Twitter, Facebook, Apple Investor News, Google Reader, Macnews, iPhone World Canada, MacDailyNews, SlideToMac Italy, Clien Korea, Melamorsicata Italy, iSpazio Mac Italy, TechEye Italy, PC World and Stadt-Bremerhaven Germany.
Macworld Brazil, BGR, TechCrunch, Golem Germany, MacPlus France, Macwelt Germany, derStandard Austria, Clubic France, ZDNet Germany, FoneHome UK, iPadevice Italy, oe24 Austria, Bild Germany, Computerworld UK, Hearst Electronic Products, Notebook Italia, International Business Times, and more.
Note: The sites that are linked to above offer Apple community members with an avenue to make comments about this report in many original languages. These great community sites provide our guests with varying takes on Apple's latest invention. Whether they're pro or con, you may find them to be interesting, fun or feisty. If you have the time, join in!