Apple Granted 29 Patents Today Covering 3 Camera Patents, the EarPod's Electroforming Housing Process and Much More
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 29 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Beyond covering Apple's granted patents earlier today for a 3D sensing device, Liquid Metal Screws and unique design patents, this report points you to three camera patent wins along with one covering the EarPod's electroformed housing. As usual, 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 Three Camera Patents
The one thing that you can count on from Apple is that when they introduce a new version of the iPhone every year, they're going to advance its camera. For camera buffs that want to review Apple's intellectual property in more depth, here are the latest three patent wins regarding Apple's iDevice cameras:
Camera Patent 1: Systems and methods for Luma Sharpening
Camera Patent 2: Determining an In-Focus Position of a Lens
Granted Patent: Electroformed Housings for Electronic Devices
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to electroformed housings for electronic devices and methods. Apple's patent specifically covers the electoformed process behind the making of the EarPods' housing.
Apple's patent covers a method that provides encapsulating electronic circuitry in a material to form a mandrel, the mandrel encompasses the electronic circuitry and has a first shape. The method further provides electroforming a metal layer around the mandrel to form the electroformed housing, the electroformed housing encompasses the mandrel and has a second shape that resembles the first shape, and removing at least a portion of the mandrel from the electroformed housing such that, after the portion of the mandrel is removed, the electronic circuitry is retained within the electroformed housing and the electroformed housing retains the second shape.
In yet other embodiments, an earbud is provided having earbud electronics, and an electroformed metal structure that encloses the earbud electronics, the metal structure having a non-rectilinear three dimensional shape and a substantially uniform thickness.
In yet other embodiments, an earbud is provided having potted earbud electronics having a first earbud shape, wherein the potted earbud electronics are incorporated in a plastic resin, and an electroformed metal structure that encloses the potted earbud electronics, the metal structure having a second earbud shape that substantially resembles the first earbud shape.
Apple's patent FIG. 1F noted above is a schematic view of an illustrative electroforming process. Process #600 is used to form a housing that is self-supporting when the mandrel is removed. The mandrel provides a support structure for the three dimensional shaped housing #100 during the electroforming process.
In an electroforming process, the material #612 from anode #610 is moved in bath #620 towards mandrel #632 forming cathode #630 when electric current #602 is applied between the anode and the cathode. The material may be deposited as a thin layer #634 on a surface of the mandrel and/or an electronic part exposed with a hole or an opening in the mandrel.
Apple credits Peter Russell-Clarke as the sole inventor of granted patent 9,031,276 which was originally filed in Q4 2012 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. To review today's granted patent claims and details, see Apple's patent.
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
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