Apple Wins Patents for iPad Dock, MacBook Air & Multi-Touch
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 16 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include two patents relating to the iTunes Store's advance purchasing system, another for a cooling apparatus used in the Mac Pro and another for an iPod armband. Yet beyond those are the more important patents that relate to Apple's iPad Dock design and a vital Multi-Touch patent that could assist Apple in future legal battles.
Granted Design Patents: iPad Dock, iPod Armband and Dock Insert
Apple has won three design patents this morning covering their new iPad Dock and their 2008 iPod armband which are illustrated below. The third was for a Universal Dock – Dock Insert.
Apple credits Senior VP Industrial Design Jonathan Ive and team members Jody Akana, Andre Bartley, Jeremy Bataillou, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Richard Howarth, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Wang and Rico as the inventors of Granted Patent D628,562 originally filed in Q1 2010.
Apple credits Senior VP Industrial Design Jonathan Ive and team members Andre Bartley, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Richard Howarth, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas Satzger, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Wang and Rico as the inventors of Granted Patent D628,375 originally filed in Q3 2008. Apple has also been granted patent D628,561 for a "dock insert" relating to their Universal Dock.
Granted Patent: Master/Slave Mode for Sensor Processing Devices
Apple has been granted a crucial Multi-Touch patent relating to Master and Slave controllers used primarily in Apple's iOS based devices. Technically speaking, however, the principles could theoretically extend to Apple's new Magic Mouse and Trackpad as well.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary touch surface device. The patent states that the design could relate to a touch based desktop, laptop, handheld or tablet computer. Apple's patent FIG. 7 is a block diagram of a touch surface system having Master and Slave controllers which represents the heart of this patent.
The importance of this multi-touch patent is that it could relate to other devices beyond those which Apple sells. Apple could therefore be thinking of licensing their technology to other kinds of OEMs. Apple's patent states that "the computer system could also be a public computer system such as an information kiosk, automated teller machine (ATM), point of sale machine (POS), industrial machine, gaming machine, arcade machine, vending machine, airline e-ticket terminal, restaurant reservation terminal, customer service station, library terminal, learning device, etc."
Technically Speaking, Apple's patent covers a computer system having two or more controllers operating in a Master/Slave configuration. According to Apple's abstract, "the computer system includes a sensor panel having a first portion for generating a first set of sense signals indicative of a touch or no-touch condition on the first portion, and a second portion for generating a second set of sense signals indicative of a touch or no-touch condition on the second portion; a first device for receiving and processing the first set of output signals from the first portion of the panel; and a second device for receiving and processing the second set of output signals from the second portion of the panel, wherein the first and second devices operate cooperatively in a Master/Slave configuration."
Apple credits Thomas Wilson, Minh-Dieu Vu and Yutaka Hori as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,848,825 originally filed in January 3, 2007, just prior to the iPhone's original preview during a Steve Jobs Keynote.
Granted Patent: MacBook Air's Movable I/O Port & Housing
Apple has been granted a patent for their innovative MacBook Air movable I/O port and housing. The design was abandoned in their latest MacBook Air redesign, though the concept could be utilized in future designs of other kinds of devices.
Technically speaking, Apple describes their patent this way: "The I/O port housing may be hinged to pivot between an open and closed position. The pivot point may be a low- or zero-friction pivot. The I/O port housing may include an opening mechanism to facilitate pivoting the port between the open and closed positions, and/or vice versa. For example, the opening mechanism may take the form of paired magnets of like polarities."
Apple credits John Brock, Brett Degner, Dinesh Matthew, Thomas Wilson Jr. and Chris Ligtenberg as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,845,953 originally filed in Q3 2008.
Other Granted Patents Published Today
Apple has won several other patents this day, including one for their now defunct iPod Hi-Fi Boombox which debuted in February 2006 and died in September 2007. Another patent was won for an air cooling apparatus related to the Mac Pro (see illustration below) along with two patents relating to the iTunes Store's advance-purchasing system.
And Finally, Apple was granted a key patent for computer systems such as the iPod, iPad or iPhone that are capable of performing at least part of a booting process directly from a NAND flash memory chip.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or Issued Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any granted patent noted above that is not directly linked, simply feed the individual patent number(s) provided into this search engine. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.