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Apple Wins Patents for iPod Illumination System, Macroscalar Processor Architecture & Airport Extreme


The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of nine newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include one relating to the iPod/iPhone's illumination system, another relating to a macroscalar processor architecture and finally one that relates to Apple's Airport Extreme.


Granted Patent: Handheld Devices as Visual Indicators


Apple's granted patent generally relates to their portable hand held computing devices such as the iPod and iPhone utilizing a backlit display as a visual indicator. In the broader scope, the invention also relates to computer monitors, televisions, and stereo equipment that have incorporated small indicators to visually alert users of a particular status of the electronic device.





Apple's patent FIG. 2 illustrates a jogger wearing an arm clip with an illuminated computing device (iPod) attached thereto and FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a media player system controlling the light source.


The invention relates, in one embodiment, to a mobile handheld computing device configured for operation as a media player and for operation as a safety reflector or light in low light and no light conditions. The computing device has a light source configured to output a beacon light effect that alerts others to the presence of the user of the computing device when the user is in low light or no light conditions. The beacon light effect may include blinking, fading in and out, ebbing, pulsating or strobing. The light source may for example be part of a backlit display.


Apple credits Eugene Antony Whang as the sole inventor of granted patent 7, 616, 097 which was originally filed in July 2004.


Granted Patent: Macroscalar Processor Architecture


Apple has won their second granted patent for a Macroscalar Processor Architecture under Patent 7,617,496.  Apple's first win for this architecture was received in July 2008 under patent 7,395,419.


Apple states that "While consumers purchase newer and faster processors with deeper pipelines, the vast majority of software available is still targeted for processors with shorter pipelines. As a result, of this, the consumer may not realize the full processing potential of a new processor for one to two years after its release, and only after making additional investments to obtain updated software. Since the limited number of program registers restricts loop unrolling, it is questionable how efficiently deeper pipelines will actually be utilized." Apple's Macroscalar Processor Architecture addresses this issue of dealing with instruction-level parallelism (ILP).


Exemplary Vector Block Iteration




Exemplary Context Switch Handling



Apple has credited Jeffry E. Gonion as the sole inventor of this patent under the numbers provided above. Although the original patent may have been filed in 2004, today's granted patent acknowledges the filing date as September 2005.


Granted Patent: Automatic Switching between DSL and Analog on a Single RJ-11 DSL/Analog Combo Modem


Airport Extreme

Apple's invention generally relates to telecommunications devices and more particularly to the use of modems in DSL and analog environments. This technology is likely incorporated in Apple's Airport Extreme.


Apple's Abstract: [The patent pertains to] A modem for providing both DSL and analog signal connection capability with a single RJ-11 jack via an automatic switching mechanism. The switching mechanism is controlled by software, which is responsive to user connection preference (i.e., for DSL or analog connection) and/or the detection that a DSL service is available. Dependent on whether DSL is detected on the signal line coupled to the jack and/or whether the user selects a DSL connection, the switching mechanism routes the signal received on the RJ-11 jack through either a path having the DSL modem circuitry or a path having analog modem circuitry.


Apple credits Olivier Mardinian as the sole inventor of granted patent 7,616,683. Although the patent was originally filed in 2001, the latest filing is noted as being February 2006.


Granted Patent: Method and System for Variable LED Output in an Electronic Device


Electronic devices such as Apple's computers, iPod touch and the Cinema Display typically have multiple power states such as "on," "off," and "sleep." Sleep states are typically used to reduce energy consumption and to save battery life. Apple's patent is about methods and systems for variable LED output controlling these functions and/or states.



A waveform generator generates LED signal values that define an LED waveform and period. Each signal value is scaled by a particular scaling value to scale the amplitude of the LED waveform. The scaled LED waveform is then transmitted to an LED to cause the light emitted by the LED to pulse at a variable brightness.


Apple credits Craig Prouse as the sole inventor of Granted Patent 7,615,938, originally filed in April 2005.


Granted Patent: Apple Studio Display - Connector Reveal


Apple Studio Display - Connector Reveal 2005

Apple's fourth generation displays were introduced simultaneously with the Blue & White Power Macintosh G3 in 1999, which included the translucent plastics of the iMac (initially white and blue, then white and grey upon the introduction of the Power Mac G4). The displays were also designed with same translucent look. The Apple Studio Display series of CRT displays were available in a 17" Diamondtron and a 21"Trinitron CRT, both driven by an LG-Manufactured chassis.


Apple's granted patent relates to the field of mechanical construction, and more particularly to an improved connector reveal for an electronic component case. The focus of the patent is on the component area noted by patent points 26, 28 and 30.


This particular patent was first applied for in 1999, the year that Apple Studio Display debuted. The last filing pertaining to this patent was filed in 2005, well after this line of displays were replaced by Apple's LCD based displays. The patent however does state that "While the example of the invention, as described herein as a computer monitor case, this application is not considered to be a restriction on the scope of the application of the invention." This implies that we could see this patent utilized in future products.  


Apple credits Douglas Heirich as the sole inventor of patent 7,614,132.


Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or Issued Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any granted patent reviewed here today, simply feed the individual patent number noted above into this search engine. To read this report in another major language, use Yahoo! Babel Fish



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