The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of thirty-six newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover two of Apple's patents. The first patent relates to Apple's ongoing work with advancing multi-touch displays which Apple first introduced with their iPhone in 2007. The second patent relates to new processes that Apple invented for shaping glass for iDevices like the iPhone and iPad so that they would be both esthetically pleasing while eliminating processes involving dangerous chemicals and gasses.
Apple Receives a New Granted Patent Relating to Multi-Touch
Apple has received a Granted Patent that relates to multi-touch sensor panels that utilize an array of capacitive sensors to detect and localize touch events and, more particularly, to the grounding of the back plane of the touch sensor panel.
Apple's engineers state that in order for the touch sensors to correctly identify the presence and location of a touch event, the back plane of the touch sensor panel should be reliably grounded. Supplying a reliable ground connection for the back plane may be useful in providing a uniform electrical reference point to measure changes in voltage and capacitance due to a touch event. If the back plane isn't properly grounded, then the touch sensors may behave sporadically and misrepresent touch events or fail altogether.
Multi-Touch is one of the cornerstones of the 2007 iPhone which the late Steve Jobs emphasized during his historic keynote introducing the iPhone. Today's patent illustrates Apple's ongoing development of Multi-Touch for iDevices.
Apple credits Thayne Miller as the sole inventor of granted patent 8,337,216.
Apple Receives Granted Patent for Glass alignment for High Temperature Processes
Apple has received a Granted Patent that relates to glass shaping processes and, more particularly, to aligning glass in high temperature processes such as glass slumping processes.
To better understand what this process means, Apple's background states the following:
"Various processes have been proposed for slumping glass or shaping glass to impart a bend or curvature thereto. One process is a "dropout" process. Vacuum forming processes have also been used to shape glass softened by heating. However, numerous disadvantages and drawbacks are associated with the dropout and vacuum forming processes for slumping glass.
These processes utilize fixed alignment systems to secure the edges of the glass to the molds. However, these fixed alignment systems could inhibit the glass from dropping or sagging into the cavities of the molds. This results in formation of protruding, perimetrical flanges in the glass after shaping, such flanges circumscribing or surrounding portions of the glass that have been allowed to drop or sag into the cavities. Depending on the intended use for the shaped glass, such flanges may be undesirable and require removal. Removal of the flanges adds additional cost, labor and time to the glass shaping processes.
Another drawback is that the glass tends to be undesirably stretched when they drop or sag into the molds. Additionally, although dropout processes are effective for relatively thick (e.g. 1/2 to 1 inch thick) glass, such processes are generally unsuitable for relatively thin (e.g. 1/4 inch thick or less) glass. Most dropout processes involve heating the glass relatively rapidly, which is detrimental to relatively thin glass and/or "art" glass. Some dropout processes also involve multiple heating cycles (firings), movement of the glass during heating, repositioning of the glass in or on the molds and/or transfers of the glass between different molds, thusly adding undesirably to the complexity, cost, time and labor for the glass shaping processes.
Furthermore, these processes typically involve contacting the glass with chemicals, gases or extraneous mechanical components, which is undesirable. Additionally, when vacuum forming, the glass may crack or otherwise be impaired due to inconsistencies or lack of control in the applied vacuum. Moreover, the appearance of the glass may be undesirably altered due to application of the vacuum, which is a significant drawback when aesthetics are important. Furthermore, in each of these processes, after the glass is slumped, the glass must still be grinded to form the finished edges."
Apple's invention pertains to apparatus, systems and methods for alignment of a glass member for high temperature processing. The high temperature processing could, for example, pertain to a slumping process to mold glass into a predetermined shape (e.g., a three-dimensional shape).
The apparatus, systems and methods for alignment of a glass member for high temperature processing are suitable for glass covers assembled in small form factor electronic devices, such as handheld electronic devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch, magic mouse and others. The apparatus, systems and methods could also be used for glass covers or displays for other relatively larger form factor electronic devices such as Apple's iPad, Cinema Display, other computer displays and televisions.
Apple credits Donald Ross, Adam Stagnaro, Matthew Theobald, Andrew Davidson and Michael Pilliod as the inventors of granted patent which was originally filed in Q1, 2009 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Apple's patent presents 19 patent claims. To review the details of this patent, see granted patent 8,336,334.
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.
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