On January 15, 2015, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a possible next-generation multi-functional iDevice Home Button. In the first mode, the Home Button retains its standard functionality. In the second mode, the Home Button transforms into a pure gaming joystick. The transition from one mode to the other is rather simple through a pressure sensor. This looks like it could be serious fun for gamers in the future.
Over the years of covering Apple's patent applications we've learnt that in many instances Apple has different teams working on a single problem from different angles in order to find the right solution prior to bringing it to market. Last March we posted a patent report titled"Apple Invents Unique Protective Mechanisms for Future Devices." Then last October we posted another report on this subject titled "Apple Advances their Device Free Fall Protection Invention." Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals how this project is progressing in interesting new areas. Today's invention introduces us to drop countermeasures that could be added to future versions of Apple's iPad Smart Cover and Smart Case to shield the iPad from damage to vital components or its display when accidentally dropped. Apple also discusses new drop countermeasures designed for the iPhone.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 44 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's granted patent relating to glass enclosures and more importantly for a glass enclosure that relates to a possible future iPhone design.
On July 10, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals Apple's intent to reduce the number of openings at the bottom of an iPhone. The focus of this invention is to reinvent the audio jack port so that when a user isn't using the audio jack port, audio can be sent through that same port instead of a dedicated speaker. The new combination port may support a lightning connector.
On July 3, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that describes an invention related to audio and more specifically to a magnetically biased electromagnet for audio applications. While Apple's invention will be appealing to true audiophiles who will appreciate Apple's determination to bring high-fidelity sound to ever smaller mobile devices, it's the side effects of this invention that may be the real news here. Imagine Jony Ive creating a future iPhone that didn't have to include external audio grilles. Imagine an iPhone that eliminated that design distraction. Considering that Apple may eliminate the headphone jack in future iPhones as well, iPhone designs are headed for cleaner, slicker form factors. In fact, Apple has already provided us with several examples of possible future design form factors for the iPhone that indeed eliminate both audio grilles and the headphone jack as seen here and here. The other side benefit of eliminating both the audio grilles and headphone jack as it allows Apple to design an iPhone that is waterproof, a point that Apple clearly makes in their current patent application.