An Apple-Euro Patent Covers a Next-Gen Millimeter-Wave Yagi Antenna for iPhone, Smart Glasses, TV & More
A new millimeter wave technology patent surfaced in Europe back in late July that was only discovered this morning. Back in May Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Seeks License from FCC Covering new Wireless Millimeter Wave Technology Found in a Recent Patent Filing." In June we posted a report titled "Apple Invents Wireless Charging iPhone Case Accessory using Millimeter Wave Technology." And finally in July we posted a follow-up story to our May report titled "The FCC approved Apple's License for Limited Testing of Millimeter Wave Technology Related to 5G Networks." Apple's European patent title that translates to "Electronic device with millimeter-wave Yagi antennas," provides us with the missing ingredient in Apple's patent surfacing in April regarding millimeter wave that described new "Patch Antennas."
Instead of Apple's patent being published in English in Europe, the published patent is in German and doesn't provide us with any mosaics or patent figures to keep it as mysterious or as secretive as possible. Below are a few translated portions of the German patent:
Apple notes that "This generally relates to electronic devices, and more particularly, to electronic devices with wireless communication circuits.
Electronic devices often include wireless communication circuits. For example, cellular telephones, computers, and other devices often include antennas and wireless transceivers for supporting wireless communications.
It may be desirable to support wireless communications in millimeter-wave communications bands. Millimeter wave communications, sometimes referred to as extreme high frequency (EHF) communications, include communications at frequencies of about 10-400 GHz. Operating at these frequencies can support high bandwidths, but can create significant challenges. For example, millimeter-wave communications are often field-of-view communications and may be characterized by substantial attenuation during signal propagation.
It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide electronic devices with improved wireless communication circuits, such as communications circuits that support millimeter-wave communications.
Apple's invention relates to an electronic device with wireless circuits that may include one or more antennas. The antennas may include phase-controlled antenna arrays, each including a plurality of antenna elements. These phase-controlled antenna arrays can be used to process millimeter-wave wireless communications and perform control operations.
Antennas such as antennas in phase-controlled antenna arrays may be mounted at the corners of a housing for the electronic device or elsewhere in an electronic device. The antennas may be antennas of printed circuit boards formed of patterned metal traces on printed circuit board substrates. The antennas of printed circuit boards may include Yagi antennas.
The electronic device is later clarified as possibly being a computing device, such as a laptop computer, a computer monitor including 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 wristwatch device, a pendant device, a headphone or earphone device, a device embedded in spectacles or other equipment worn on the user's head, or another body-portable or miniature- A display device, a television, a computer display which does not contain an embedded computer, a game device, a navigation device, an embedded system such as a system in which an electronic equipment is mounted with a display in a kiosk or a vehicle.
To improve signal reception for millimeter-wave communications, phase-controlled antenna arrays and beam control techniques can be used. Antenna diversity schemes may also be used to ensure that the antennas which have been blocked or otherwise deteriorated due to the operating environment of the device can be turned off and higher power antennas can be used in their place.
Wireless communication circuits may include circuits for other short-range and long-range wireless connections, if desired. For example, the wireless communication circuits may include circuits for receiving television and radio signals, paging system transceivers, near field communications (NFC) circuits, and so on.
Apple later notes that Yagi antennas can be operated at frequencies of 60 GHz or extremely high frequencies (EHF) such as frequencies from 10 to 400 GHz (sometimes referred to as millimeter-wave frequencies) or other suitable operating frequencies.
For those interested in some of the deeper details of Apple's future wireless technologies supporting wireless charging, receiving TV signals and more, can find Apple's German patent application DE202017002065 in-part here where you'll have access to the "Description" and patent "Claims." It appears that the patent was filed sometime in 2016.
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