The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 37 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover what appears to be Apple's iPad Air invention along with two patents relating to key iOS user interface attributes.
Apple Granted Patent for the iPad Air
Apple has been granted a patent today for their invention relating to the construction of a thinner Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad. The patent is likely referencing Apple's new iPad Air as it emphasizes the creation of a much thinner design. Supporting this is Jony Ive's introduction of the new iPad Air whereby he makes it clear at the 31 second mark of their promo video noted below that Apple "actually started work on this product years ago." Considering that the patent was only filed in 2011, the reference would strongly suggest that today's granted patent is indeed related to the new iPad Air.
Apple states that in one aspect, "the single piece housing can be machined from a single billet of material, such as rectangular block of aluminum, using computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine tools and associated techniques. In one embodiment, the single piece housing can be generated by 1) machining the billet to form an exterior surface of the housing, the exterior surface including curved side walls transitioning into a substantially flat bottom surface; 2) machining the billet to form an interior cavity, a portion of the interior cavity substantially flat and parallel to the substantially flat bottom surface; 3) machining the billet to form interior sidewalls to form ledges that extends from the sidewalls, the ledges including a surface, proximately parallel to the flat bottom surface, for receiving a trim bead and a cover and 4) machining the billet to form support shelves for attaching corner brackets to the housing." The goal was to design a thin iPad with an improved aesthetic look and feel.
Apple places a lot of emphasis on making the iPad thinner. In one embodiment, Apple states that "the housing can be formed from a single billet of metal, such as a billet of aluminum. In particular embodiments, the billet can be provided as a rectangular sheet with a nominal thickness of about 11 mm where during the machining process about 90% or more of the billet is removed. After machining, the housing can be less than 1 cm thick.
A fine point that Apple makes in this granted patent in several places is that the "portable computing device can take many forms such as a laptop computer, a tablet computer, and so on." This allows Apple's iPad design to be equally protected as a possible future hybrid notebook + tablet design such as Apple's April 2013 patent figure below.
Apple credits Stephen McClure, Sean Corbin, John Ternus, Kevin Gibbs, Jeremy Franklin, Elvis Kibiti, John Raff, Jules Henry, Benjamin Rappoport, Derek Write, Erik Uttermann, Ming Yu and Carl Peterson as the inventors of granted patent 8,587,939 which was originally filed in Q1 2011 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. To review today's 16 granted patent claims and details, see Apple's patent.
Apple Granted Two Key Patents for the iOS GUI
Apple has been two granted patents today for their invention relating to the iOS user interface. In a way, they're part of the essence of what defines the iOS interface: the homepage for launching apps.
In Apple's first granted patent they state that "In some embodiments, a multifunction device with a touch screen display and a plurality of applications concurrently displays a first plurality of application launch icons in a first area of the touch screen display, detects a first input by a user, and in response to detecting the first input by the user, displays a search input area on the touch screen display." The patent also covers integrated "search" capabilities.
In a secondary granted patent, Apple describes a user selecting the menu button 201 (the Home Button) on the device. In response, the device shifts operation from the active application to an application selection context 209 (FIG. 9B), from which the user may select and activate an application from a plurality of applications.
Apple Granted 3 Design Patents Today
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
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.
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