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Apple invents Digital Crown Seal for new 'Swim-Proof' Apple Watch 2

10 Patents
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During the Apple Event on Wednesday Apple introduced Apple Watch Series 2 and the number one new feature was to advance its 'splash-proof" rating to that of 'swim-proof' which is water resistant at 50 meters. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams pointed out during his keynote segment that in order for Apple Watch to reach this new water-resistant rating, their engineers had to devise new seals and adhesives to close up every aperture as noted in our cover graphic from the Apple Event. On Thursday, the U.S. Patent Office published a wide range of Apple Watch related patent filings with one of them covering the new seal system that was designed specifically for the Digital Crown.


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Apple's invention details systems and apparatuses related to input mechanisms that are operable to rotate and translate in order to provide input. Various embodiments may provide waterproofing and/or other sealing for these input mechanisms. One or more embodiments may affect appearances of these input mechanisms.


The Apple Watch has an associated rotatable and translatable input mechanism or 'Digital Crown.' The housing may define an aperture through which a shaft of the rotatable and translatable input mechanism extends. The Digital Crown/input mechanism may also have a manipulation structure coupled to the shaft. The manipulation structure may be manipulated to rotationally and/or translationally move the shaft to provide one or more types of input to Apple Watch


A compressible seal may be positioned in a gap between the housing and the Digital Crown/rotatable and translatable input mechanism. The compressible seal may resist and/or prevent passage of contaminants into the aperture and/or obscure one or more internal components. The compressible seal may be configured to collapse or bend when the rotatable and translatable member translates.


Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a top plan view of an Apple Watch having a body, housing, or other enclosure or housing #114 and a rotatable and translatable input mechanism assembly 110 (such as a crown). As the input mechanism assembly #110 is rotatable and translatable, the Digital Crown/input mechanism assembly may be operable to receive multiple kinds of input for Apple Watch. For example, the Digital Crown/input mechanism assembly may be operable to receive button input and rotating knob input.



Apple's patent FIG. 3 noted above is a partial cross-section view of the electronic device #102 taken along line A-A in FIG. 1. As illustrated, Apple's Digital Crown, referred to as 'the input mechanism assembly #110,' may include a cap #303 (such as zirconia, sapphire, and so on) fitted into an aperture of a manipulation structure #148 (such as a knob that may be made of aluminum, gold, or other material with a variety of surface finishes such as matte, polished, and so on).


The cap may be fitted into the manipulation structure #148 via an adhesive mechanism #278 such as heat activated film, pressure sensitive adhesive, and so on.


A coupling #218 (which may be formed of a material such as titanium) may be attached into a cavity or recess of the manipulation structure. The coupling may include outer arms #276 and a stem or shaft #240. The Digital Crown/input mechanism assembly may further include an extender #226 (which may be formed of a material such as cobalt chrome) that interlocks with an end #222 of the shaft. Movement of the shaft may thus also move the extender #226.


In Apple's patent FIG. 4 noted above we're able to see a cross-sectional view similar to that of FIG. 3, but showing the Digital Crown/input mechanism assembly under external force such as a user pressing on the cap. As show, the external force moves the manipulation structure closer to the enclosure. The compressible seal may be configured to obscure and/or otherwise block from view internal components of the Digital Crown/input mechanism assembly and/or the electronic device.


One or more gaskets #154 (such as one or more O-rings) may be positioned between the shaft and the collar #220. The gaskets may cooperate with an inside of the collar to allow the shaft to rotate and translate within the collar. The inside of the collar may also be coated and/or polished to facilitate movement of the gaskets to better allow the shaft to rotate and translate within the collar. Such gaskets may also form a barrier against entry of contaminants such as dust, dirt, and/or liquid into the housing, and may be at least partially compressed when the shaft is affixed to an extender. .


For more of the finite details, review Apple's patent application 20160259301 here that covers a compressible seal for rotatable and translatable input mechanisms.


Two additional major Apple Watch patents were discovered this week and covered in separate reports titled "Apple Reinvents the Watch Band with Auto Adjustment," and "Revealing Apple Patent Covers Ceramic Apple Watch and All-New Ceramic iPhone."


The remaining Apple Watch patents published this week by the U.S. Patent Office include the following titles:





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