On this July Fourth holiday we cover two distinct patent applications published by the US Patent & Trademark Office today. The first relates to new flexible battery pack designs that will support next generation device form factors such as a possible flex-screen iPhone or some form of wearable computer such as information band or wristwatch. The second invention relates to a few minor upgrade features that may be introduced in a future Maps app upgrade.
Apple Invents Flexible Battery Packs
With revelations coming to light earlier this year that Apple may be working on future device form factors such as a flex-screen based iPhone and/or an information band or wristwatch, it's clear that Apple's battery team had to come up with solutions that would support such form factors.
Apple's battery team had already revealed next generation batteries that could take on all kinds of shapes, but to support curved form factors in particular, Apple's team had to specifically invent new designs that could be flexible yet durable and safe. Today's latest patent application covers that in detail.
Apple states in their latest battery centric patent application that unique form factors often require flexible battery arrangements, whereas conventional battery packs are often too rigid to flexibly conform to new form factors. For example, lithium-ion batteries, such as lithium polymer battery cells, are quite rigid and bending them repeatedly may cause damage to the battery cells and battery failure. As a result of attempting to accommodate inflexible battery packs, the packaging of portable electronic devices may not be optimally sized.
In addition to flexibility problems, conventional battery packs also have drawbacks associated with reliability. For example, conventional batteries that include multiple cells may fail because moisture or dust enters the cavity of any one of the multiple cells. Unfortunately, if one of the multiple cells within the battery fails, the entire battery often fails.
Accordingly, flexible battery packs that overcome one or more of the drawbacks of conventional battery packs are desirable.
Unique Form Factor Solution
Apple's invention relates to flexible battery packs for use in electronic devices that overcome one or more of the drawbacks of conventional battery packs. In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the flexible battery pack may include a plurality of cells, such as galvanic or photovoltaic cells. The battery pack also may include a plurality of laminate layers coupled to the cells that include a top laminate layer and a bottom laminate layer.
An adhesive may be used to couple the top and bottom laminate layers together such that each of the plurality of cells is isolated from each other. This arrangement may allow the battery to be shaped to fit a form factor of the electronic device. This arrangement also may allow one or more of the cells to be selectively removed from the plurality, which may be desirable from a manufacturing perspective.
Apple's patent FIGS. 3B and 3C noted above illustrate a cross section of the new flexible batteries which may be folded into generally curved orientations to accommodate the various form factors of electronic devices. The precise degree of curvature may vary depending upon the embodiment ultimately implemented, and in some embodiments, the curve may be asymmetric. For more on this, see Apple's patent application 20130171490
Advancing Apple's "Maps" App with User-Specified Route Rating and Alerts
Navigation systems are commonplace today. Users can access navigation systems online, in cars and in mobile devices that can route a user from one location to another. The routes selected by navigation systems are generally selected based on intrinsic qualities of a route, such as distance, road type, and other features associated with the roads and streets that make up the route.
With Apple's latest invention related to their Maps app, a user will be able to provide ratings for routes, streets and/or locations. In some implementations, the user will be able to initiate an alert associated with a location.
In some implementations, user-specified ratings and alerts can be included in a route determination. In some implementations, route rating and alert information can be transmitted to other users and/or devices. This is like the way Waze works.
Apple states that their advanced Maps app implementations will be able to provide at least provide the following advantages: Route determination is improved by accounting for real-world considerations and concerns of travelers. Real-time user-generated alerts allow for faster and more accurate notification of events within proximity of a user that might hinder the user's progress as the user travels.
For more on this, see Apple's patent application 20130173155 that was originally filed in Q4 2011.
Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details. Revelations found in patent applications shouldn't be interpreted as rumor or fast-tracked according to rumor timetables. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
Sites Covering our Original Report
9to5 Mac, MacRumors, MacDailyNews, MacWorld UK, TUAW, GIGA Apple Germany, iClarified, iPhoneros Spain, Exame.com Brazil, soy de Mac Spanish, iPhoneItalia Italy, New MobileLife China, Tech News Bulgaria, MyApple Poland, TechCular, Applesfera Spain,Gsoku Japan, MacSurfer, Twitter, Facebook, Apple Investor News, Macnews, News Freedom Hong Kong, Silicon Investor, and more