The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 55 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover two manufacturing processes used by Apple's Jony Ives to deliver Apple's cool designs with their famous chamfered edges which Samsung is thinking of copying for a future smartphone design. This report also covers Apple's second granted patent regarding the iPhone's "Integrated Touch" display. This type of display is reportedly causing Apple some grief in respect to their new 5.5 inch iPhone model. 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 Water Jet Shaping of Displays and Structures for iDevices
Apple has been granted a patent today for their invention relating to manufacturing techniques for electronic devices, and, more particularly, to shaping device structures such as display structures with a water jet shaping technique.
Apple first describes the need for their invention: the material that is used in forming display layers such as color filter array layers, thin-film-transistor layers, and cover glass layers may be provided in large panels referred to as mother glass. The mother glass is typically singulated into device-sized pieces using a scribing and breaking process. Device-sized display layers may then be laminated together to form displays. In some situations, mechanical milling machines may be used to mill openings into glass layers. For example, the cover glass layer of a display may be provided with a speaker port opening using milling techniques.
Conventional singulation techniques based on scribing and breaking can only be used to form straight cuts, limiting their applicability. Conventional milling techniques may require multiple passes when forming certain shapes to avoid stress buildup, which can reduce throughput and limit the types of features that can be incorporated into a glass layer. Therefore it would be desirable to be able to provide enhanced techniques for manufacturing electronic device structures.
Apple's invention relates to structures such as display structures and other electronic device structures being shaped by using water jet cutting equipment. The water jet cutting equipment may use computer-controlled positioners to position a workpiece relative to a water jet. The water jet may be formed from a high-pressure stream of water that includes abrasive particles such as garnet or aluminum oxide particles.
The position of the workpiece relative to the water jet may be adjusted so that the water jet shapes the workpiece. The water jet may be used to cut or trim the edges of the workpiece, may be used to form notches and openings in the workpiece, and may be used to shape other features in the workpiece such as recesses, grooves, and chamfers.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 noted below is a perspective view of an electronic device component such as a display showing how notches and openings in the display may be formed using water jet cutting; FIG. 8 is a diagram showing how water jet cutting equipment may be used in shaping structures such as singulated display structures when forming an electronic device.
Apple credits Jun Qi, Wayne Fu, Chenhui Wang, Kuanying Lin, Nathan Gupta, Victor Yin and Silvio Grespan as the inventors of granted patent 8,801,889 which was originally filed in Q1 2011 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple Granted Patent for Ultrasonic bonding
Apple has been granted a patent today for their invention relating to the use of an ultrasonic welding machine in electronics manufacturing.
More specifically, Apple's patent relates to an apparatus for ultrasonically bonding a number of wires to a printed circuit board (PCB) pad. The apparatus includes at least the following elements: (1) an ultrasonic vibration driver configured to create mechanical vibrations only between 60 and 80 kHz; and (2) a steel ultrasonic bonding horn with a cavity shaped to maximize the amount of ultrasonic energy imparted to the plurality of wires. The ultrasonic vibrations made by the apparatus cause the plurality of wires to vibrate harmonically, and the bonding operation itself takes place over a period of between 50 and 100 milliseconds.
Beyond printed circuit boards, we noted back in March 2012 that Apple's refined ultrasonic bonding was used in the manufacturing of the iPhone.
Apple credits Michael Nikkhoo as the sole inventor of granted patent 8,800,846 which was originally filed in Q1 2013 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple Granted Patent for Integrated Touch Screen
Apple has been granted a patent today for their invention relating to integrated touch screens, and more particularly, to integrated touch screens including drive lines formed of grouped-together circuit elements of a thin film transistor layer and sense lines formed between a color filter layer and a material layer that modifies or generates light.
Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller first introduced Apple's iPhone with "Integrated Touch" back in September 2012 when introducing the iPhone 5. This is Apple's second granted patent regarding their integrated touch technology. The first patent on this was granted to Apple in January of this year.
It was noted in news report back on July 22 that "In-Cell Displays may be Causing Delays in Apple's 5.5" iPhone."
Technically speaking, Apple's invention relates to integrated touch screens that include drive lines formed of grouped-together circuit elements of a thin film transistor layer and sense lines formed between a color filter layer and a material layer that modifies or generates light. In some examples, the touch screen can be an in-plane switching (IPS) liquid crystal display (LCD), fringe field switching (FFS), advanced fringe field switching (AFFS), etc. The common electrodes (Vcom) in the TFT layer can be grouped together during a touch sensing operation to form drive lines.
Sense lines can be formed on an underside of a color filter glass, and a liquid crystal region can be disposed between the color filter glass and the TFT layer. Placing the sense lines on the underside of the color filter glass, i.e., within the display pixel cell, can provide a benefit of allowing the color filter glass to be thinned after the pixel cells have been assembled, for example.
Apple credits Shih Chang and John Zhong as the inventors of granted patent 8,804,056 which was originally filed in Q4 2010 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
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