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Apple Won 69 Patents Today covering iDevices with Recharging Photovoltaic Cells, Illuminating Apple Watch Bands & more

1 Cover Photovoltaic cell integrated into devices


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 69 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover two patents. The first covers possible future iDevices and accessories that will come with built-in photovoltaic cells that will be able to recharge mobile devices. Light sources for the cells could come from the sun, a street light, or other outdoor sources of illumination. The second granted patent covers illuminated Apple Watch bands that could illuminate icons, buttons or even a mini display. Our report also covers two design patents issued to Apple today for HomePod and Apple Card with chip. And, as always, we wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.


Devices with Photovoltaic Cells


Apple begins their granted patent with a little background of their invention. Apple notes that it may be desirable to transfer power between a source of power and circuitry that requires power. In some systems, a user must manually plug a power cable into equipment that requires power. In other systems, a user must align equipment to be powered with a wireless charging source. These types of systems can be cumbersome for users. For example, a user may not always have a power cable on hand or may not always be near a wireless charging source.


Photovoltaic cells are sometimes used to provide power for electronic equipment. However, it can be challenging to incorporate photovoltaic cells into different types of electronic equipment. For example, photovoltaic cells can be insufficiently flexible or overly bulky.


Apple's granted patent covers an item that may include circuitry, a battery that powers the circuitry, and a photovoltaic cell that is used to recharge the battery. The photovoltaic cell may be a thin-film photovoltaic cell with a flexible substrate. The flexible substrate may be formed from fabric, leather, polymer, or other soft materials.


A fabric-based item may have fabric with conductive strands and insulating strands. The conductive strands may form conductive signal paths and may be coupled to control circuitry.


A photovoltaic cell may include a first electrical terminal coupled to a first conductive strand and a second electrical terminal coupled to a second conductive strand. The first and second conductive strands may be coupled to control circuitry. The control circuitry may route the electricity from the photovoltaic cell to a battery or other circuitry.


Items such as cases, covers, bands, headphones, interiors, and other items may have flexible or soft surfaces that can form substrates for photovoltaic films.


Apple's patent FIG. 2 below is a schematic diagram of an illustrative electronic device that may operate in the system; FIG. 4 is a diagram showing how conductive yarn in a fabric may be coupled to control circuitry; FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of illustrative fabric having a photovoltaic cell on a strand in the fabric.


2 photovoltaic cells for devices and accessories


Apple's patent FIG. 10 above is a perspective view of an electronic device and accessory having one or more photovoltaic cells; FIG. 11 is a front view of possible future headphones that could include having one or more photovoltaic cells.


+ Solar Power for Vehicles (Project Titan)


Lastly, Apple's patent FIG. 9 presented below is a side view of a portion of an illustrative vehicle having one or more surfaces with photovoltaic coatings. 


1 extra fig. 9 photovoltaic cells on sunroof and more


In the example of FIG. 9 above, the system may be a vehicle, a kiosk, a room in an office or other building, or other environment having circuitry that requires power.


As shown in FIG. 9, the system may include windows such as front window #64, side windows #72, and one or more top windows #70 (e.g., a skylight/sunroof) that are mounted in body #108.


The vehicle's Body use solar power panels on the doors, seats, dashboards and beyond.


More specifically, the vehicle may be an electric vehicle, the control circuitry may be used in controlling functions such as steering, braking, acceleration and controlling other vehicle functions. The Circuitry may also include power circuitry for use in recharging battery. The power circuitry may be used in delivering power from a source such as photovoltaic cells to the battery or may, if desired, be used in delivering power from photovoltaic cells directly to other circuitry in the system.


Apple's granted patent 10,600,928 that was published today wasn't originally filed with USPTO in Q3 2017 but was never made public as a patent application with Apple as Assignee.  


Apple has been slowly working on devices with photovoltaic cells and solar in general going back to at least 2011. Other solar cell patents could be viewed here (2015) and here (2016).


Illuminated Apple Watch Bands with built-in Functionality


Today the US Patent & Trademark Office granted Apple a patent that relates to smart fabrics integrated with a multitude of sensors and features like a camera and flashing color lighting in the form of strand-like stitching on leather that could be set to alert users of messages and more. The bands may also have lit icons or mini displays.


Apple's patent FIG. 10 below is a diagram of an illustrative wristwatch having a strap that is displaying an illuminated trim pattern and additional illuminated content; FIG. 2 is a side view of an illustrative electronic device showing how electrical components may operate through an outer layer of the device.


3 x Apple Watch Band with ...


Apple's granted patent 10,595,618 that was published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was originally filed for in Q2 2018. For more details about this invention, review our original 2018 patent application report here.


Apple Design Patents Granted Today


The key design patents that were granted to patent today include Apple "Card with Chip," and HomePod as presented below.


4 Design patents for HomePod and Apple Card with Chip


Apple was granted 27 design patents for Apple Card and Chip in Hong Kong last year that you could review here.


The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today


5 -  Apple's Remaining Granted Patents for mar 24  2020 - Patently Apple


10.52FX - Granted Patent Bar


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