Apple Invents an Automatic Shutter System that will protect iDevice and Mac Ports from Moisture or Dirt
Last week we posted a patent report titled "Apple Reveals Third Waterproofing Patent this Month & Ejectable iDevice Corner Shock Absorbers that Float." Apple's focus on waterproofing continues this week with their fourth patent in as many weeks titled "Electronic Devices with Housing Port Shutters." Apple notes that a new shutter system could be activated automatically or manually by the user to prevent moisture or contaminants from entering sensitive audio components such as a speaker or microphone.
Apple's invention will apply to the widest range of products. Apple's patent FIG. 1 below could be any of the following devices states Apple: "a laptop computer, a computer monitor containing an embedded computer, a tablet computer, a cellular telephone, a media player, or other handheld or portable electronic device, a smaller device such as a wrist-watch device, a pendant device, a headphone or earpiece device, or other wearable or miniature device, a television, a computer display that does not contain an embedded computer, a gaming device, a navigation device, an embedded system such as a system in which electronic equipment with a display is mounted in a kiosk or automobile."
According to Apple, "a shutter may be interposed between the component and the housing port. The shutter may have an electrically controlled positioner that is used to position a movable shutter member. The shutter member may have openings such as slots or may be free of openings.
The shutter may be closed by placing the shutter member in a position in which the housing openings are blocked, thereby preventing intrusion of contaminants into the interior portion of the housing and preventing the port from becoming blocked by the presence of contaminants. The shutter may be opened by placing the shutter member in a position in which the shutter member openings overlap the housing openings or in which the housing openings are otherwise unblocked, thereby allowing sound to pass through the housing port."
Apple's patent FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an illustrative electronic device such as a portable electronic device that has ports; FIG. 11 is a perspective interior view of an illustrative electronic device with port openings formed in a curved housing sidewall and a curved port shutter with a shape that matches the curved housing sidewall; FIG. 12 is an interior view of an illustrative electronic device with a rotating shutter; FIG. 15 is a flow chart of illustrative operations involved in operating a shutter for a housing port in an electronic device; and FIG. 16 is a perspective exterior view of a portion of an illustrative electronic device having a manually actuated port shutter.
Apple's patent application 20150340795 was originally filed in Q2 2014. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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