The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 23 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our third and final granted patent report of the day we focus in on Apple's sixth granted patent for solar power related technology. Our report also covers a secondary granted patent for an anti-theft system for iDevices based on using an accelerometer. Whether this one even passes the laugh test is up to you to determine.
Apple Wins their Sixth Solar Power Related Patent
Apple has received a Granted Patent relating to techniques for operating devices with solar power. More particularly, this invention relates to portable electronic devices having multiple power interfaces.
In one aspect of Apple's invention, apparatus for operating a portable electronic device with solar power includes, but is not limited to, a voltage converter and a controller coupled to the voltage converter. The voltage converter includes an input capable of being coupled to a solar power source and an output capable of being coupled to an electronic load, such as, for example, a portable electronic device. The voltage converter is configured to monitor or detect an amount of power drawn by the electronic load at the output of the voltage converter. In response to the monitored power drawn, the controller is configured to control the voltage converter to adjust further output power provided to the electronic load. As a result, the output voltage from the solar power source is maintained within a predetermined range.
Apple's patent FIG. 4A shown above is a block diagram illustrating an example of an apparatus for operating an electronic device with solar power according to one embodiment of the invention. In one embodiment, the apparatus includes, but is not limited to, a voltage converter and a controller coupled to the voltage converter. The voltage converter includes an input capable of being coupled to a solar power source and an output capable of being coupled to an electronic load, such as, for example, a portable electronic device. The voltage converter is configured to monitor or detect an amount of power drawn by the electronic load at the output of the voltage converter. In response to the monitored power drawn, the controller is configured to control the voltage converter to adjust an amount of power to be drawn subsequently. As a result, the output voltage from the solar power source is maintained within a predetermined range.
Apple's patent FIG. 4B is a simplified schematic diagram illustrating an apparatus for charging a battery from a solar cell, according to one embodiment of the invention. For example, exemplary circuit 450 may be implemented as an embodiment of circuit 400 of FIG. 4A.
Examples of Portable Electronic Devices having a Power Interface for Various Power Sources
Apple's patent FIGS. 8A and 8D shown below are block diagrams illustrating examples of portable electronic devices having a power interface for various power sources. In one embodiment, a portable electronic device includes a processor, a memory coupled to the processor for storing instructions, when executed from the memory, which cause the processor to perform one or more functions, a battery coupled to provide power to the processor and the memory, and a battery charging manager coupled to charge the battery using power derived from a plurality of power sources including a solar power source.
Apple's patent FIG. 8D is a block diagram illustrating an example of a portable electronic device where the power package 812 further includes a second auxiliary charger 807 and an auxiliary battery 813, while the portable device maintains a first auxiliary charger 814. The power package 812 becomes a portable power package that may be plugged into the portable device via an interface circuit 811, for example, with or without a cable.
Apple credits Wendell Sander and Daniel Warren as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q4 2010 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple Wins Patent for Simplified Anti-Theft System
Apple has received a Granted Patent relating to portable electronic devices. More specifically, this invention relates to theft detection systems for portable electronic devices.
The drive toward miniaturization of electronics has resulted in computer-based systems that are becoming much more portable. Current portable electronic devices such as laptop computers, hand-held devices such as cellular telephones and personal media devices, such as the iPod are sufficiently compact and lightweight as to make them easily movable. Unfortunately, such ease of transport also implies ease of theft
One current anti-theft system is a simple mechanical lock that attaches to the housing of a device, with a cable that wraps around other objects so as to affix the portable device to these objects. In this manner, portable electronic devices can be effectively tethered to nearby fixtures, making theft difficult. However, such systems suffer from drawbacks. For instance, users are forced to carry around a bulky cable and lock.
Apple's proposed solution doesn't require the use of additional bulky physical mechanisms, and which is capable of functioning in many different locations.
Broadly speaking, Apple's invention uses acceleration of a monitored device and processes that data to determine whether a likely theft condition exists. If so, the various embodiments of the invention then seek to prevent theft by initiating an alarm.
Apple's invention can be implemented in numerous ways, including as a method, system, device, apparatus, or computer readable medium. Several embodiments of the invention are discussed below.
As a theft prevention system for protecting a portable electronic device, one embodiment of the invention comprises an acceleration sensor, an audio output device, and a controller operatively connected with the acceleration sensor and the audio output device, the acceleration sensor, the audio output, and the controller each being proximate to the portable electronic device. The acceleration sensor is configured to sense an acceleration of the portable electronic device and provide an acceleration signal to the controller upon detection of the acceleration. The controller is configured to initiate the production of an alarm signal from the audio output based on the acceleration signal.
Apple provides us with an example scenario: "For instance, if it is determined that the manual transport of a particular portable electronic device often results in the portable electronic device undergoing accelerations in the range of 1-25 Hz (say, due to the rhythmic movement caused by a thief's walking or running), along with accelerations in the range of 100-200 Hz (perhaps due to quicker changes in direction, jumping, etc.), the signal filter 120 can be designed to pass frequencies only in those ranges. The theft detection circuitry 130 can then send a theft detection signal to the microprocessor 20 only upon detecting frequencies in both ranges."
Apple credits Paul Wehrenberg as the sole inventor of granted patent 8,217,792which was originally filed in Q2 2011.
I don't know about you, but this patent/invention is a little hard to swallow and doesn't really pass the laugh test. It's better than nothing, mind you, but it just doesn't seem to be a failsafe system worth caring about. If you think differently, then let me know in the comments below. .
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.
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