The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-seven newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our first report of the day we focus on two patents. The first relates to a future cellular MacBook that will likely access 4G LTE data networks. Apple's second patent win relates to an MIMO antenna which Wikipedia states is an important part of modern wireless communication standards such as LTE. Whether this particular antenna will be used in Apple's forthcoming iPhone 5 or future cellular data ready MacBook is unknown at this time.
Apple Granted yet another Cellular MacBook Patent
Apple has received yet another Granted Patent relating to a future cellular MacBook. Apple's project regarding the cellular MacBook began a little over two years ago. There are fourteen additional related granted patents and patent applications on record in our archives for your review.
Apple considers the cellular MacBook a "hybrid device," in that it could offer cellular telephony, media player functionality and more.
An illustrative electronic device such as a portable electronic device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention is shown in Apple's patent FIG. 1.
According to the patent, device 10 may handle communications over one or more communications bands. For example, wireless communications circuitry in device 10 may be used to handle cellular telephone communications in one or more frequency bands and data communications in one or more communications bands. Typical data communications bands that may be handled by the wireless communications circuitry in device 10 include the 2.4 GHz band that is sometimes used for Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) and Bluetooth communications, the 5.0 GHz band that is sometimes used for Wi-Fi communications, the 1575 MHz Global Positioning System band, and 3G data bands (e.g., the UMTS band at 1920-2170). These bands may be covered by using single-band and multiband antennas. For example, cellular telephone communications can be handled using a multiband cellular telephone antenna and local area network data communications can be handled using a multiband wireless local area network antenna. As another example, device 10 may have a single multiband antenna for handling communications in two or more data bands (e.g., at 2.4 GHz and at 5.0 GHz). Two or more multiband antennas of this type may be used in an antenna diversity arrangement. Antenna arrangements with three or more antennas may also be used. For example, device 10 may have two dual-band Wi-Fi antennas and a Bluetooth antenna (as an example).
Apple's first patent claim reads as follows: "A laptop computer antenna, comprising: a molded interconnect device dielectric antenna support structure; a conductive coating on the molded interconnect device dielectric antenna support structure that defines at least one antenna resonating element for the antenna; and a conductive case that serves as an antenna ground plane for the antenna, wherein the at least one antenna resonating element comprises at least three antenna resonating elements on the molded interconnect device dielectric antenna support structure each of which forms a separate antenna with the antenna ground plane, wherein at least two of the separate antennas are multiband antennas."
Whether Apple will restrict this future cellular MacBook to data network communications or open it to telephony is unknown at this time. However, if we go by Apple's 4G LTE iPad as a future model, then it will be restricted to data networks only.
Apple credits Enrique Ayala, Gregory Springer, Douglas Kough and Matthew McDonald as the inventors of the '412 patent which was originally filed in Q2 2008 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple Granted Patent for Antenna Selection for MIMO Decoding
Apple has received a Granted Patent that relates to wireless communications, and in particular to enhanced Multiple Input Multiple Output decoding. Although Apple refrains from associating their antenna with any specific standard, Wikipedia confirms that MIMO is an important part of modern wireless communication standards such as 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE), IEEE 802.11n (Wi-Fi), 4G, WiMAX and HSPA+. Every granted LTE related patent could become very important going forward for obvious reasons.
Apple's first patent claim reads as follows: A method comprising: obtaining a channel matrix using a decoder, the channel matrix comprising channel transfer elements corresponding to different channels in a multiple input multiple output wireless communication system, wherein each column of channel transfer elements of the channel matrix corresponds to one antenna layer of a plurality of antenna layers, each of the plurality of antenna layers associated with a transmitted data stream that was transmitted from a transmit antenna; generating a Hermitian transpose of the channel matrix using the decoder; generating a product of the Hermitian transpose of the channel matrix and the channel matrix to provide a first product having a plurality of diagonal elements using the decoder; generating a partial matrix inversion for the plurality of diagonal elements of the first product to provide a diagonal vector using the decoder; selecting a selected antenna layer of the plurality of antenna layers based on a function of the diagonal vector using the decoder; generating a partial matrix inversion of the first product along a row corresponding to the selected antenna layer to provide a row vector using the decoder; and generating a product of the row vector and the Hermitian transpose of the channel matrix to provide an inverse channel gain vector using the decoder.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 shown below is a logical flow diagram illustrating operation of an antenna layer selection function according to one embodiment of their invention.
Apple credits Eddy Hum and Ming Jia as the inventors of patent 8,265,212 which was originally filed in Q4 2007 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Other Apple IP News
Apple has been granted a simple design patent for the opening window for AirPlay.
Apple has filed a trademark for Smart Strings under application 85720340
First Patent Round-Up
Over and above the granted patents that were specifically reported on today, we present you with links to nine other granted patents in our First Patent Round-Up as follows:
8,266,456: Supplying remaining available current to port in excess of bus standard limit
8,266,338: Data flow control within and between DMA channels
8,266,323: System connections and user interfaces
8,265,078: Routing table build algorithm for a routing table that uses a search key constructed from packet destination address and outbound interface
8,265,022: Apparatus and methods for transmission of emergency call data over wireless networks
8,265,017: Methods and apparatus for network capacity enhancement for wireless device coexistence
8,264,820: Handheld computing device (iPod Nano)
8,264,805: Dual voltage hot swap module power control
8,263,872: Method and apparatus for attaching a flex circuit to a printed circuit board
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.