Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to heat dissipation in portable electronic devices like the iPhone. More specifically, the present embodiments relate to the use of graphene in heat dissipators for iDevices. The timing of Apple's patent filing is quite revealing. Apple filed it on September 9, 2016 or a week or two after Note 7 fires began gaining attention in the blogosphere and more importantly, Consumer Reports. Whether the Note 7 fires were a motivator for the patent filing or pure happenstance, the fact is that as Phablets get larger, extra safety measures to safeguard users from battery overheating incidents are needed and it's great to see that Apple is being proactive.
Coincidentally, KGI analyst Ming Chi Kuo noted today that because the wireless charging component inside the devices produces more heat, a new graphite layer will be required inside the phone to protect the film 3D Touch sensor. This graphite sheet will be laminated to the heat-sensitive film sensor internally. The timing is most interesting.
Apple notes in their patent filing that their invention relates to techniques for facilitating thermal transfer in a portable electronic device. The portable electronic device includes a battery pack, which further includes a battery cell.
The battery pack may supply power to a set of components in the portable electronic device. The portable electronic device also includes a heat dissipator composed of graphene. The heat dissipator may be in thermal contact with one or more of the components. The heat dissipator may also be disposed over a surface of the battery pack.
In some embodiments like the iPhone, the battery cell corresponds to a lithium-ion and/or lithium-polymer battery cell that contains a set of layers, including a cathode with an active coating, a separator, and an anode with an active coating. The battery cell also includes a pouch enclosing the layers, wherein the pouch is flexible. The layers may be wound to create a jelly roll prior to sealing the layers in the flexible pouch.
Apple's patent filing also provides formulas where graphene could be utilized in future versions of the Apple Watch and Macs.
Apple's patent application 20170038803 was filed back in Q3 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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