Apple won 26 Patents today covering Force Touch for AirPods Pro, the Pro Display XDR's Magnetic attachment mechanism & more
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 26 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we briefly cover Apple's patents relating to Force Touch for AirPods Pro and the Pro Display XDR's magnetic attachment mechanism. 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.
Force Touch for AirPods Pro
One of Apple's granted patents issued today relates and focuses on Force Touch on AirPods Pro. It's Apple's patent claims that confirms the focus of the patent. Patent claim #1 in part states: "a processor configured to detect, at least partly in response to the detected respective properties associated with each of the first self-mixed light and the second self-mixed light, a gesture of a user made on the touch input surface, wherein: the housing defines an earbud.
The first patent Figures presented below shows that the technology, though focused on AirPods Pro as per their 21 new patent claims, the technology of course applies to the iPhone, Apple Watch+.
We then present Apple's patent FIG. 12A below relating to Force Touch. More specifically, patent FIG. 12A illustrates a module #1200 that includes a first self-mixing interferometry SMI sensor #1202a and a second self-mixing interferometry (SMI sensor) #1202b. The module #1200 may be disposed below (or adjacent) a user input surface #1204, and in some cases may be abutted to or adhered to the user input surface (e.g., using an optically transparent adhesive).
In some cases, the processor may be configured to detect a deflection (D) of (or distance to) the user input surface 1204, which deflection is perpendicular to the user input surface. The deflection (e.g., a press, click, or other force-based gesture) may be detected at least partly in response to a first detected property associated with the first self-mixed light of the first laser light source.
The processor may also determine a velocity of the deflection along the axis #1216a. When the stiffness of the user input surface is repeatable (i.e., if the user input surface returns to the same equilibrium position after each user touch), the processor may use the detected properties of the first self-mixed light to determine an amount of force applied to the user input surface.
Apple's granted patent 11,243,686 is extremely technical and at times seems to be describing 3D Touch. However, the focus of the patent is determined by the patent claims and there's no doubt that the patent is focused force touch for AirPods Pro. You could review the patent and its many patent figures here.
The Pro Display XDR's Magnetic Attachment Mechanism
Today the U.S. Patent Office granted Apple a patent for the magnetic attachment mechanism for their high-end Pro Display XDR.
Technically speaking, Apple's granted patent covers a modular desktop display that enables a display unit of the desktop display to be easily detached from a stand, thereby allowing the display unit more mobility than conventional display units that are securely (and in some cases, permanently) fastened to the stand via mechanical fasteners such as screws.
The display unit may include a housing and a recess formed in the housing. The shape of the recess enables a magnetic attachment mechanism, secured to a stand, to be inserted into the recess. The magnetic attachment mechanism can include a magnetic element that interacts with a corresponding magnetic element included in the display unit. The corresponding magnetic element may be positioned along a surface defined by the recess and/or in close proximity to the recess. An attractive force between the magnetic elements can hold the display unit to the magnetic attachment mechanism as well as aid a person in locating the display unit relative to the stand when attaching the display unit to the magnetic attachment mechanism.
In some embodiments, a magnetic attachment mechanism is described that secures a display unit to a stand. The magnetic attachment mechanism includes a housing having a size and a shape corresponding to a recess formed in the display unit.
A magnetic element is attached to the housing. When the magnetic attachment mechanism is inserted in the recess, the magnetic element is magnetically coupled with, via an attractive force, a corresponding magnetic element in the display unit positioned proximate the recess.
A latch mechanism is included in the magnetic attachment mechanism and configured to automatically engage with a surface feature formed in the recess when the magnetic attachment mechanism is inserted into the recess. An actuating mechanism is included in the magnetic attachment mechanism and configured to lock the latch mechanism in an extended state that prevents the magnetic attachment mechanism from being extracted from the recess.
In some embodiments, the magnetic element and the corresponding magnetic element are permanent magnets. The permanent magnets may include a neodymium alloy.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 Illustrates a modular display system that enables the display unit to be magnetically attached and detached from a stand. This is a good example of a "conceptual illustration" versus a "design patent figure." Apple is only conveying a concept for the stand below and as we all know; Apple delivered a vastly different final design for the stand.
So whether it's the Face ID notch on an iMac Patent or the stand for the Pro Display XDR, conceptual patent figures of devices don't represent the final product. For exact representation, Apple files design patents. An example of that could found here of their 24" iMac.
Apple's patent FIG. 5A above illustrates an extended state of the latch mechanism; FIG. 5B illustrates a retracted state of the latch mechanism.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11,246,233
The Remaining Patents Granted to Apple Today