This week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that revealed the reinvention of today's battery power icon found on mobile devices. The new system will be able to intelligently measure time remaining before recharging based on the apps currently running on your device. Today, the battery power icon on our mobile device communicates this in terms of a percentage of battery power remaining, as in 23%, for instance. With this new invention in place, we'll be able to simply see an actual time, as in 7 mins. 53 seconds left to run a device based on the apps that are actually running on the device at that point in time. Every app depletes time on a battery, yet some apps deplete power more quickly than others and the new system will be able to calculate time remaining by knowing how to calculate time depletion per app running.
Apple's Patent Background
Most electronic devices include an internal portable power source, such as a rechargeable battery, that provides power to the devices. One technique for informing a user about the amount of charge on the power source is to represent the amount of charge in as a battery charge status icon. The amount of charge on the power source can be represented by a color indicator that completely fills or partially fills in the icon. For example, when the power source is fully charged, the battery icon can be filled in completely by the color indicator.
The battery icon, however, may not provide information to the user about whether or not the power source has a sufficient amount of charge to power the device for the applications and functions the user will be running over an upcoming period of time.
For example, the user may be running a navigation program to receive turn-by-turn directions for two hours, which means the electronic device will be in near-constant or constant use during that two hour period. Based on the battery icon, the user may not be able to determine that the power source has a sufficient amount of charge to provide power for that application for the entire two hours.
In general, some users can be anxious or uncertain about the displayed amount of charge remaining on a power source because the user may not be certain that the remaining charge is sufficient to meet the user's use of the electronic device over an upcoming period of time.
Apple's Invention: Displaying Use Time Remaining on Fast Charge Devices
Apple's invention is about how iOS will be able to learn how a user uses an electronic device and provide more accurate information about the remaining use time of the electronic device to the user.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 below is a flowchart depicting an example method for displaying remaining power on an internal power source in a portable electronic device;
In some embodiments, a fast charging battery or power source can be included in the electronic device.
In one aspect, an electronic device includes a power source configured to supply power to one or more components of the electronic device. A processing device that is in communication with the power source can be configured to determine an estimated power requirement of the mobile electronic device during a time period and determine a charge state of the power source.
The processing device can be adapted to determine if the charge on the power source will meet the estimated power requirement, and to produce an indication as to the remaining use time for the electronic device.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 illustrated below is a conceptual diagram of example factors that can be considered when performing block 500 in FIG. 5 above; FIG. 7 is one example of a display for displaying the remaining use time for an electronic device; and FIG. 8 is another example of a display for displaying the remaining use time for an electronic device.
The remaining use time can be determined independently for one or more users of the electronic device, and the indication can be displayed to each user in several different ways. For example, in one embodiment, the processing device can determine that having 50% charge on the power source provides a first user with twenty-four hours of use but provides a second heavier user with twelve hours of use. The appropriate amount of remaining use time can be displayed to each respective user.
In another aspect, a method for operating an electronic device can include a processing device estimating a power requirement to be needed in an upcoming time period and determining an amount of charge on a power source of the electronic device. An indication of the amount of time a user has to use the electronic device can then be displayed to the user.
The displayed remaining use time can be updated continuously, periodically, or at select times. The amount of use time can be learned by the electronic device.
Additionally or alternatively, a user can enter desired or expected use times for one or more applications and the electronic device can utilize the user-input information to determine the amount of use time. The amount of use time remaining can be determined using data from one or more sensors, such as GPS, applications, such as a calendar and/or navigation or location service or application, and/or from one or more network connections or configurations, such as an IP address.
In yet another aspect, one or more power profiles can be created for the portable electronic device. A power profile can include estimated power requirements, historical power usage, and/or options regarding the power management of the portable electronic device.
A method for creating a power profile can include a processing device analyzing historical power requirements of the electronic device and creating the power profile based on the determined historical power requirements. The power profile can be modified based on input received from a user.
Apple further notes that the portable electronic device can sample data regarding power usage over time to create a database of power use data, or the mobile electronic device may have a "test" time such as a number of days or a week during which the device may store data corresponding to the "typical" power consumption.
Embodiments can provide an indication of how much use time remains for one or more users of the electronic device based on a power profile the device has created or received.
The power profile can include estimated power requirements, historical power usage, and/or options regarding the power management of the portable electronic device. For example, a power profile can include information about the amount of power used in a given time period for text messages, emails, cellular telephone calls (e.g., when the electronic device is a smart telephone), internet browsing, camera use, travel applications, other applications such as health monitoring applications (e.g., heart rate monitor), and so on.
A power profile can be created for each day of the week, or for each repeating activity or meeting that appears on a calendar program. Additionally or alternatively, a power profile can be produced for each regularly used application on the portable electronic device or on one or more locations frequented by the user.
A power profile can be created to reserve power for an application or function to allow the electronic device to save power for that application on a particular day or days, a given time of day, or some other time period.
Lastly, it's worth noting that Apple's engineers are already describing wireless charging within their patent filings as if it's already in place or is about to. Apple notes in patent point #25: "In other embodiments, the portable electronic device may communicatively couple with one or more external power sources without the need of a power cable. For example, the portable electronic device may receive power from an external power source inductively or wirelessly, or may include an integrated plug in lieu of the power cable. In these embodiments, the power cable may be omitted."
Apple patent application 20160242119 was filed in Q1 2016. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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