The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 49 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover the iPhone's Integrated Touch technology, possible future solar assemblies for the iPhone and the integration of various sensors and the Home Button in iDevices. Apple was also granted their third Siri related patent in 2014 and four design patents. We wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Apple Granted Patent for Integrated Touch Screen
Apple's granted patent notes that capacitive touch sensor panels can be formed from a matrix of drive and sense lines of a substantially transparent conductive material, such as Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), often arranged in rows and columns in horizontal and vertical directions on a substantially transparent substrate. It is due in part to their substantial transparency that capacitive touch sensor panels can be overlaid on a display to form a touch screen, as described above.
However, overlaying a display with a touch sensor panel can have drawbacks, such as added weight and thickness, additional power required to drive the touch sensor panel, and decreased brightness of the display.
To overcome these drawbacks, Apple invented a display with integrated touch. Phil Schiller introduced this new display during his iPhone 5 introductory keynote segment as noted below.
Apple credits Steven Hotelling, Marduke Yousefpor, Shih Chang and John Zhong as the inventors of granted patent 8,730,196. This is Apple's second granted patent on this invention. The first granted patent was issued in Q1 2013 under number 8,390,582.
Apple Granted Patent for Integrated Touch Sensor and Solar Assembly
While we're on the topic of integrated touch screens, Apple has also been granted a patent today for their invention relating to integrated touch sensor and Solar Assemblies.
Apple's granted patent generally relates to integrated touch sensor and solar panel stack-up configurations that may be used on portable devices, particularly handheld portable devices such as a media player or phone. The stack-up configurations may include one or more touch sensor layers and one or more solar cell layers. By integrating both the touch sensors and the solar cell layers into the same stack-up, surface area on the portable device may be conserved.
For more details on this granted patent, you can review our original coverage of this patent back in June 2010 here or review granted patent 8,730,179.
Apple Granted a Patent for Specialty Construction of iDevices like an iPhone
Another granted patent issued to Apple today covers iDevices that include a display and a transparent cover that covers the display. The transparent cover may be formed from cover glass and may extend beyond the borders of the display and, if desired, may cover a majority of one or more sides of the electronic device. For example, the cover glass may extend almost entirely across the front face of the electronic device. With one suitable arrangement, the electronic device may include a mask behind or in front of portions of the cover glass to obscure internal components in the electronic device from view. Generally, the mask need not extend across the display. However, if desired, the mask may overlap the edges of the display. The cover glass and mask may have portions defining holes. As an example, the holes may include a hole for a button mechanism (e.g., a menu button hole) and a hole for a speaker (e.g., a port for transmitting sound through the cover glass).
A mask for cover glass in an electronic device may include microperforations. The microperforations may allow light and other radiation to pass through the mask and cover glass. With this type of arrangement, the electronic device may include sensors underneath the cover glass that can transmit and receive radiation through the cover glass.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 is a front view of an illustrative cover glass with a light mask that may have microperforations to allow light to pass through the cover glass to one or more sensors that may be mounted beneath the cover glass; FIG. 7 is a front view of an illustrative light mask that may be perforated to allow light to pass through the light mask.
Apple credits Daniel Jarvis, Adam Mittleman, Ming Xu and John Tam as the inventors of granted patent 8,731,618, which was originally filed in Q2 2009 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. To review today's granted patent claims and details, see Apple's patent.
Apple Granted their Third Siri Related Patent
Apple was also granted their third Siri related patent for 2014 today titled "Maintaining context information between user interactions with a voice assistant" under number 8,731,942. The first Siri related patent was granted to them in February while the second arrived in March.
Apple Granted 4 Design Patents Today
Apple was granted four design patents today covering the iPhone 5C's retail packaging, the lightning connector, an iPad with an iBook UI plus another user interface (not shown).
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
A Note for Tech Sites covering our Report: We ask tech sites covering our report to kindly limit the use of our graphics to one image. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.
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 Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Comments are reviewed daily from 4am to 8pm MST and sporadically on the weekend.
New on Patently Mobile this Week