The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-three newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second and final granted patent report of the day we focus in on Apple's second Magic Mouse patent victory and their sixth win towards their future Telephonic MacBook. In our June 2011 report covering Intel's IDF titled "Intel, Apple & the Transformation of the PC," we covered Intel's focus on their all new Ultrabook PC category. One of the key attributes coming to Ultrabooks appeared in their slides relating to phase-two and three of their Ultrabook architecture; these next generation Ultrabooks would always be on and always be connected. Obviously Intel is planning to integrate 4G into their Ultrabooks in the not-too-distant future and this is why the Telephonic MacBook will be a reality. It's not a matter of if but rather when.
Apple Wins a Patent for Magic Mouse
Apple has been granted their second granted patent covering the technology behind their Magic Mouse that specifically relates to a mouse with an optical sensing surface. While Apple first introduced their Magic Mouse back in October 2009, the patent filings are noted as being filed in December 2005 and March 2006, which once again proves that patents most certainly can forecast products well ahead of time.
Apple's Magic Mouse features a seamless touch-sensitive enclosure that allows it to be a single or multi-button mouse with advanced gesture support. Using intuitive gestures, users can easily scroll through long documents, pan across large images or swipe to move forward or backward through a collection of web pages or photos. Magic Mouse works for left or right handed users and multi-button or gesture commands can be easily configured from within System Preferences.
About Apple's Patent Figures: Apple's patent FIG. 3 noted above presents a method of extracting control information; patent FIG. 4 is a touch pattern with identified touches; patent FIG. 5 below presents a method of monitoring each touch to determine if a touch event has been performed; patent FIG. 6 is a simplified block diagram of a mouse; patent FIG. 7 is a perspective diagram of a unibody mouse; FIG. 9B is a side elevation view of a unibody mouse; patent FIG. 12B is an image of a top shell where the area and shape of each pixel within the image may not be accurately represented.
Apple's First Claim: A configurable mouse with an extended sensing surface, which provides the mouse a customizable, programmable or adaptable way of generating inputs, the mouse including an arbitrarily shaped grippable member having a 3D shape, a position detection mechanism that detects the movement of the mouse along a surface, a multipoint touch detection mechanism that includes a single lens assembly and detects one or more objects that are contacting or in close proximity to a majority portion of the grippable member, and a controller for processing signals generated by the position detection mechanism and multipoint touch detection mechanism.
Apple's granted patent which is titled "Mouse with optical sensing surface," has a total of 32 patent claims. Apple credits Christoph Krah and Steve Hotelling as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q1 2006. Apple's first granted patent for the Magic Mouse was awarded in October 2010. Whether Apple will ever launch a lawsuit against their competitors for copying the Magic Mouse, is unknown at this time. Of course I'm sure that Microsoft has enough touch centric patents of their own to make such a lawsuit difficult, but you never know these days.
Granted Patent Number Two: Slot antennas for electronic devices
Apple has been granted a patent for slot antennas for electronic devices. This translates to Apple racking up its sixth granted patent related to a future Telephonic MacBook. Apple states that the notebook, noted below as device 10, "may handle communications over one or more communications bands. For example, wireless communications circuitry in device 10 could be used to handle cellular telephone communications in one or more frequency bands and data communications in one or more communications bands." So it's not just about GPS, WiFi or data, it's definitely including telephonic communications.
Further into the patent, Apple states that "cellular telephone communications could be handled using a multiband cellular telephone antenna and local area network data communications could be handled using a multiband wireless local area network antenna."
Apple's patent FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an illustrative electronic device such as a portable electronic device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; patent FIG. 4 is a top view of an illustrative slot antenna that has two circular terminations; and patent FIG. 6 is an illustrative Smith chart that may be used to analyze impedances associated with illustrative slot antennas
Apple's Patent Abstract: Slot antennas are provided for electronic devices such as portable electronic devices. The slot antennas may have a dielectric-filled slot that is formed in a ground plane element. The ground plane element may be formed from part of a conductive device housing. The slot may have one or more holes at its ends. The holes may affect the impedance characteristics of the slot antennas so that the length of the slot antennas may be reduced. For example, the holes could be used to synthesize the impedance of the slot antennas so that the slot antennas have a resonant frequency that is different from their natural resonant frequency. The holes may affect the impedance of the slot antennas in multiple radio-frequency bands.
Apple's patent titled "slot antennas for electronic devices," which was filed in Q2 2008, makes 18 patent claims. Apple credits Bing Chiang, Douglas Kough and Enrique Vazquez as the inventors of this patent. You could find the other five granted patents related to the Telephonic MacBook in our MacBook - Telephonic Patent Archive.
Apple Wins a Patent for a Radio Module Shield to Reduce EMI in Future Telephonic MacBooks
Another patent granted to Apple today relates to the same future Telephonic MacBook as is noted above. Apple's patent background provides us with an overview of their latest invention:
In the electronic device industry, more and more electronic devices are equipped with wireless communication capabilities based on one or more wireless communication standards, such as WCDMA (UMTS), CDMA2000, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, etc. An electronic device equipped with wireless communication capability may have a radio module that includes components for baseband modulation, analog-digital signal conversion, etc.
Typically, at least some components in the radio module may be sensitive to electromagnetic noise from other components in the electronic device. For example, the ambient noise may need to be under -106 dB for atypical radio module to function properly. However, various components in the electronic device may generate electromagnetic noise of undesirably high levels and may interfere with the operation of the radio module. There is thus a need to effectively reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI) on the radio module.
Apple's solution is covered by their invention that relates to a radio module having a shield for reducing electromagnetic interference on the radio module. The shield may include a heat-spreading layer made of a material including graphite. The heat-spreading layer may spread heat generated by the radio module. The shield may also include a reflective layer overlapping the heat-spreading layer and configured to reflect electromagnetic energy to the heat-spread layer. The beat-spreading layer is also configured to absorb at least a portion of the electromagnetic energy, thereby reducing the electromagnetic interference on the radio module.
Apple's First Claim: A radio module configured for use in an electronic device, the radio module having a shield configured to reduce electromagnetic interference on the radio module, the shield comprising: a heat-spreading layer made of a material including graphite, the heat-spreading layer configured to spread heat generated by the radio module; a reflective layer overlapping the heat-spreading layer and configured to reflect electromagnetic energy to the heat-spread layer, wherein the heat-spreading layer is also configured to absorb at least a portion of the electromagnetic energy, thereby reducing the electromagnetic interference on the radio module; and wherein at least a portion of the shield is disposed between the radio module and a display module.
Apple's newly granted patent titled "Apparatus for reducing electromagnetic interference and spreading heat," was originally filed in Q1 2008. Apple lists 25 claims in total and credits Chris Ligtenberg as the sole inventor of this patent.
Final Patent Round-Up
Over and above the granted patents that were specifically reported on today, we present you with links to all of the other granted patents in our Final Patent Round-Up as follows:
Patent 8,077,779 Method and apparatus for variable accuracy inter-picture timing specification for digital video encoding with reduced requirements for division operations; patent 8,077,218 Methods and apparatuses for image processing; patent 8,077,182 User interface controls for managing content attributes; patent 8,077,160 Storing baseline information in EEPROM; and finally, patent 8,076,628 Ambient light sensor with reduced sensitivity to noise from infrared sources.
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Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.