Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to a possible new strobe light accessory that could be used with an iPhone, iPad, MacBook and more. The accessory could be connected via Lightning or wireless. Of course, Apple could include USB-C in the future should this device come to market to comply with EU demands.
Apple's invention covers an accessory strobe device that is capable of mirroring the output of an internal (built-in) strobe of a mobile device.
The mobile device may output a strobe control signal that includes information for both a metering strobe state (e.g., metering phase) and a main strobe state (e.g., main (normal) flash phase) of the internal strobe.
The strobe control signal may be provided as output from a single data pin in a data/charging port (e.g., a port that provides both data and power connections). The strobe control signal may include temporally separated pulses that differentiate the metering strobe state and the main strobe state of the internal strobe based on the time and duration of the pulses.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below depicts a representation of an embodiment of a mobile device coupled to an accessory strobe device. FIG. 2 depicts a representation of an embodiment of a mobile device coupled to an accessory strobe device using a wireless device. The device could be an iPhone, iPad, MacBook and more.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 below depicts a block diagram of an embodiment of the strobe device (#200).
Apple doesn't limit the strobe accessory to an iPhone and lists other devices the accessory will work with such as iPad, MacBooks, subnotebooks and more.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11,172,553.