The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of seventeen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our first report of the day we covered a design win for Apple's Shanghai Store. In our second report of the day we focus entirely on Apple's first coded magnet patent win as it relates to their iPad Smart Cover. Apple officially introduced the iPad Smart Cover a year ago and the first patent about the iPad Smart Cover surfaced in December 2011. Kicking off 2012 we were able to view Apple's dramatic overview of their coded magnet technology which provided us with a peak of what could be in the pipeline for this promising technology. While Apple has received their first coded magnet patent today, it certainly won't be their last.
Magnets: the Magic behind Apple's iPad Smart Cover
Apple has won their first coded magnet patent win today. Apple's invention generally relates to a system, method, and apparatus for releasably attaching the iPad smart cover accessory to an iPad. The iPad Smart Cover includes at least an accessory body and a magnetic assembly pivotally connected to the accessory body. The magnetic assembly includes at least a first plurality of magnetic elements arranged adjacent one another in a first relative size order along a first line and arranged according to a first polarity pattern of alternating magnetic polarities, and a second plurality of magnetic elements arranged adjacent to one another in a second relative size order along the first line and according to a second polarity pattern of alternating magnetic polarities.
Apple's patent FIG. 17A shown below illustrates a closed configuration of the cooperating system formed by the iPad and protective cover that we now know as the iPad Smart Cover; FIG. 17B shows an open configuration of the cooperating system shown in FIG. 17A.
Apple stated at the time that the magnetic attachment system could include a number of magnetic attachment features distributed within and in some cases connected to the housing. For example, the magnetic attachment system could include first magnetic attachment feature, which is the actual clip on portion of the smart cover, and second magnetic attachment feature 110 located on different sides of electronic device including under the display. The iPad could further include magnetic attachment feature 216 (noted in patent FIG. 17B) that could be used to interact with securing attachment feature 110.
The iPad's Creative Foldable Triangles
One of the key attributes to the iPad Smart Cover is its creative folding triangles. In patent FIG. 18 we see a top view of a specific embodiment of the cover assembly in the form of a segmented cover assembly. At the time, Apple stated that a material such as micro-fiber is used to passively clean the delicate display surface. On the other hand, a layer that is exposed to the external environment could be formed of a more rugged and durable material such as plastic or leather.
The iPad Smart Cover provides inserts that provide stiffness to the cover assembly. In some cases, the inserts may be referred to as stiffeners. As such, the cover assembly is relatively stiff except along the foldable regions that are thinner and do not include the inserts (e.g., allows folding) making segmented cover assembly 1300 more robust and easier to handle. Examples of materials that could be used include plastics, fiber glass, carbon fiber composites, metals, and the like.
Apple's patent FIG. 4A is a simplified perspective view of an article that is releasably attachable to an electronic device via the top and side magnetic attachment systems; FIG. 4B shows a cooperating system of the attached article and the electronic device shown in FIG. 4A in a closed configuration; FIG. 4C shows the cooperating system of FIG. 4B in an open configuration.
To get a richer overview of this technology, see our initial report on Apple's smart cover for iPad.
Apple credits Senior VP of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive (or is that now Sir Ive), Andrew Lauder, Matthew Rohrbach, Daniel Coster, Christopher Stringer, Florence Ow, Jiang Ai, Elvis Kibiti, John Ternus and Sean Lubner as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q3 2011. The patent contains 12 Claims. Related Material: Apple Reveals Powerful Magnet Coded Apps for iPad & Sporting Gear
Over and above the granted patent that we specifically reported on, we present you with links to a few others that were published today at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
8,140,116 - Duplex audio for mobile communication device and accessory. (The present disclosure relates in general to mobile communication devices that interoperate with accessories and in particular to interoperation of a mobile communication device with an accessory to provide a duplex audio mode.)
8,138,977 - Antennas for handheld electronic devices
8,138,687 - Multicolor lighting system (for keyboards)
8,138,896 - Tactile feedback in an electronic device (vibrate, visual/audio feedback and/or olfacatory feedback which relates to smell. That's interesting – though Apple doesn't provide us with a single example, unfortunately.)
8,139,349 - Display housing for computing device (covers light from Apple logo on MacBooks)
8,140,975 - Slide show navigation
8,140,972 - Sticky functionality
8,140,570 - Automatic discovery of metadata
8,140,714 - Media management and routing within an electronic device
8,140,729 - Method and apparatus for arbitration on a full-duplex bus using dual phases
8,140,809 - Computer implemented masked representation of data tables
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.
Check out Our Latest Report on Patent Bolt Titled: