Apple Patents: Apple Store Structure, OLED Driver & MacBook Air
On April 26, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published three interesting patent applications from Apple. In the first one, Apple seeks to patent their Upper West Side (NYC) retail store structure that's located at 67th Street and Broadway. Just last week they filed a similar patent application for their Shanghai Apple Store. This trend of patenting "Flagship" store designs is likely to be a trend that will continue going forward. In a second patent application, we see that Apple has developed a new OLED driver which indicates that Apple is considering OLED for future MacBook and iOS device displays. The advantage to OLED is that display-backlighting isn't required. In the third patent application we see that Apple is legally beefing up their patent pending MacBook Air by including nine related patent applications under one roof. Is Apple making this move to protect their design if challenged or could it be used offensively in the future against copycat OEM designs hiding under Wintel's Ultrabook banner? Time will tell.
Apple Seeks to Patent their Upper West Side New York Apple Store
Apple's invention provides a support structure for supporting a glass structure, the support structure including a top truss chord extending in a first direction and including end portions, a bottom truss chord including end portions, wherein the end portions of the bottom truss chord are coupled to the end portions of the top truss chord, a strut including an upper portion and a lower portion, wherein the upper portion of the strut is coupled to the top truss chord and wherein the lower portion of the strut is coupled to the bottom truss chord, a purlin extending in a second direction, wherein the purlin is coupled to the upper portion of the strut, and a support coupled to the purlin and configured to support at least a portion of at least one glass panel.
Apple's invention also provides a purlin, including a pair of purlin beams positioned apart from each other so as to define a space there-between, a cover plate extending between the purlin beams at a lower portion thereof, and utilities extending within the space, disposed above the cover plate.
And lastly, Apple's invention provides an architectural structure, including a top truss chord extending in a first direction and including end portions, a bottom truss chord including end portions, wherein the end portions of the bottom truss chord are coupled to the end portions of the top truss chord, a strut including an upper portion and a lower portion, wherein the upper portion of the strut is coupled to the top truss chord and wherein the lower portion of the strut is coupled to the bottom truss chord, and wherein the strut defines an opening in the upper portion thereof, a purlin extending in a second direction, wherein the purlin is coupled to the upper portion of the strut, a support coupled to the purlin and configured to support at least a portion of at least one glass panel, and utilities extending within the purlin and through the opening.
Apple's patent application 20120096777 was originally filed on May 13, 2011. It should be noted that Apple was also granted a design patent for this Apple Store in November 2011.
Apple Seeks to Patent OLED Driver Technique
In a second patent application from Apple regarding a new OLED driver technique, they begin with an introductory background overview of the subject matter.
Flat panel displays, such as liquid crystal displays (LCDs) organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays, are commonly used in a wide variety of electronic devices, including such electronic devices as televisions, computers, and hand-held devices (e.g., cellular telephones, audio and video players, gaming systems, and so forth). Such display panels typically provide a flat display in a relatively thin package that is suitable for use in a variety of electronic goods. In addition, such devices typically use less power than comparable display technologies, making them suitable for use in battery-powered devices or in other contexts where it is desirable to reduce power usage.
Electronic displays are not always used at a full brightness setting, but rather may operate at variable brightness levels. For example, since LCDs are backlit, brightness may be adjusted by increasing or decreasing an amount of light emitted by a backlight. The amount of light emitted by the backlight corresponds to the amount of light emitted through each of pixel of the LCD. On the other hand, OLED displays do not rely on a backlight, but rather each OLED may emit light individually. Thus, the brightness of an OLED display may be varied by changing the power supplied to each OLED.
While increasing or decreasing the amount of power may increase or decrease the amount of light emitted by each OLED, the precise amount of light emitted by each OLED may vary according to a nonlinear function. As such, many techniques for adjusting the brightness of OLED screens have conventionally involved performing complex calculations on image data to ensure that when a brightness-adjusted image is displayed on the OLED display, each pixel displays a proper color and brightness. For example, a nonlinear transfer function may be applied to framebuffer-encoded image data and a dimming value divided from the image data. This dimmed image data then may be converted to an analog OLED pixel brightness control signal that is used by the OLED display to output light from OLED pixels. These conventional techniques may consume excessive system resources and/or may be incompatible with existing LCD brightness control mechanisms.
Apple's invention relates to systems, methods, and devices for efficient brightness control for an organic light emitting diode (OLED) display. In one embodiment, such a method may include receiving image data into a data driver of an organic light emitting diode display and transforming the image data into a logarithmic domain. A dimming control value may be subtracted from this log-encoded image data. The resulting log-encoded dimmed image data may represent a darker version of the originally received image data. Thereafter, a pixel of the organic light emitting diode display may be driven based at least in part on the dimmed image data.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 is a schematic block diagram of a data driver integrated circuit (IC) of an OLED display. Apple's patent application was originally filed in Q4 2010.
Apple Updates MacBook Air Patent
Apple states that the outward appearance of a portable computing system, including its design and its heft, is important to a user of the portable computing system, as the outward appearance contributes to the overall impression that the user has of the portable computing system. At the same time, the assembly of the portable computing system is also important to the user, as a durable assembly will help extend the overall life of the portable computing system and will increase its value to the user.
One design challenge associated with the manufacture of portable computing systems is the design of the outer enclosures used to house the various internal computing components. This design challenge generally arises from a number conflicting design goals that include the desirability of making the outer enclosure or housing lighter and thinner, of making the enclosure stronger, and of making the enclosure aesthetically pleasing, among other possible goals. Lighter housings or enclosures tend to be more flexible and therefore have a greater propensity to buckle and bow, while stronger and more rigid enclosures tend to be thicker and carry more weight. Unfortunately, increased weight may lead to user dissatisfaction with respect to reduced portability, while bowing may damage internal parts or lead to other failures. Further, few consumers desire to own or use a device that is perceived to be ugly or unsightly. Due to such considerations, portable computing system enclosure materials are typically selected to provide sufficient structural rigidity while also meeting weight constraints, with any aesthetic appeal being worked into materials that meet these initial criteria.
As such, outer enclosures or housings for portable computing systems are often made from aluminum, steel and other inexpensive yet sturdy metals having a suitable thickness to achieve both goals of low weight and high structural rigidity. The use of metal enclosures is also convenient from the standpoint of providing a ready electrical ground and/or a ready radio frequency ("RF") or electromagnetic interference ("EMI") shield for the processor and other electrical components of the computing device, since a metal enclosure or outer housing can readily be used for such functions.
Therefore, it would be beneficial to provide portable computing system that is aesthetically pleasing and lightweight, and durable. It would also be beneficial to provide methods for assembling the portable computing system.
Apple's invention describes various embodiments regarding systems and methods for providing a lightweight and durable portable computing device having a wedge shaped profile and an associated high speed memory card and card connector. This could be accomplished at least in part through the use of a wedge shaped outer housing and specially designed inner components arranged to fit and operate within this housing. Such components include a high speed memory card and associated card connector that utilizes contacts having short signal paths, as well as a ground plane split into multiple portions. In one aspect of the provided embodiments, the computing device takes the form of a laptop computer.
Apple Legally Beefs Up Protection for the MacBook Air
Today's patent application for the MacBook Air is really a continuation patent. Apple is now beefing up their patent pending MacBook Air by incorporating nine other patent applications to be under the roof of this one invention. If Apple wishes to challenge the Wintel Ultrabook, this would be one of the ways of strengthening their design for battle.
This patent application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/276,015 filed Oct. 18, 2011 which claims priority to:  (i) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/394,037 filed Oct. 18, 2010 by Degner et al; and  (ii) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/275,724 filed Oct. 19, 2010 by Degner et al; and is a continuation in part of: (iii) PCT Application PCT/US2011/047796 filed Aug. 15, 2011 which in turn claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/894,437 filed Sep. 30, 2010, entitled "High Speed Card Connector" by Abraham.
 This patent application is also related to and incorporates by reference in their entireties and for all purposes the following co-pending patent applications: (i) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/714,737 (APL1P620) entitled "Integrated Frame Battery Cell" by Murphy et al., and filed Mar. 1, 2010; (ii) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/552,857 (APL1P594) entitled "Centrifugual Blower with non-uniform blade spacing" by Duke, and filed Sep. 2, 2009; (iii) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/620,299 (APL1P597) entitled "Heat Removal in Compact Computing Systems" by Degner et al., and filed Nov. 17, 2009; (iv) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/580,922 (APL1P601) entitled "Computer Housing" by Raff et al., and filed Oct. 16, 2009; and (v) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/712,102 (APL1P619) entitled "Stacked Metal and Elastomeric Dome for Key Switch" by Niu et al., and filed Feb. 24, 2010.
Apple's patent application was originally filed in Q4 2010 by inventors Brett Degner, Euan Abraham, John Brock, Matthew Casebolt, Robert Coish, Laura DeForest, Michelle Goldberg, Bradley Hamel, Ron Hopkinson, Jim Hwang, Catlin Kalinowski, Steven Keiper, Patrick Kessler, Eugene Kim, Chris Ligtenberg, Jay Osborn, John Raff, Nicholas Rundle and David Yeh.
Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details. Revelations found in patent applications shouldn't be interpreted as rumor or fast-tracked according to rumor timetables. Apple's patent applications have provided the Mac community with a clear heads-up on some of Apple's greatest product trends including the iPod, iPhone, iPad, iOS cameras, LED displays, iCloud services for iTunes and more. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
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