Apple Granted 69 Patents Today covering Next-Gen Smart Fabrics for a Future Apple Watch, the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar & more
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 69 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this last patent report of the day we focus on a smart fabric's patent that Apple shows could be used in a future Apple Watch band. Our report also touches on the Milanese Apple Watch Band, a Beddit related patent, a design patent covering the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar and wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Granted Patent: Output Devices for Fabric-Based Devices
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to electronic devices and, more particularly, to electronic devices having output devices incorporated into fabric.
Fabric can be provided with metal wires and other conductive fibers. These fibers can be used to carry signals for electrical components. In some arrangements, an electronic device can be formed from a fabric that contains electrical components. In other arrangements, an electronic device may include fabric that does not contain any electrical components. The fabric-based electronic device may be worn or held by a user.
The fabric may be coupled to an electronic device housing in which electrical components are mounted. The fabric may be used to hold the electronic device housing against a user's body. For example, the fabric may form a wrist band that holds the electronic device housing against the user's wrist.
The fabric-based electronic device may include one or more output devices that provides output (e.g., tactile output) to a user from the fabric. The output device may include a moveable element such as a moveable wire in the fabric. Control circuitry such as an electromechanical actuator may be mounted in the electronic device housing and may be configured to control the movement of the wire in the fabric.
The wire may be enclosed within a flexible tube. The flexible tube may be intertwined with fibers in the fabric. The wire may include a kink or other irregularity that presses against the inner surface of the flexible tube. When the wire is rotated or moved into an appropriate position, the kink may press against the inner surface of the tube, which in turn forms a protrusion on the fabric. The protrusion on the fabric may press against the user's body and may therefore be used to obtain the attention of the user that is wearing or holding the fabric-based electronic device. If desired, the wire may be rotated repeatedly to create a pulsing sensation from the fabric against the user's body.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of illustrative electronic equipment having one or more output devices incorporated into fabric; FIG. 2 is a perspective view of illustrative electronic equipment such as an Apple Watch band having one or more output devices incorporated into the fabric; FIG. 3 is a perspective view of illustrative fabric that includes an output device formed from a moveable structure that is incorporated into the fabric.
Apple's granted patent 9,830,783 was originally filed in Q3 2015 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. To see other Apple patents regarding smart fabrics, see our archives here.
Earlier this month Patently Apple posted a report titled "Smart Interactive Garments may be closer to Market than we think and Google may have the Jump on Apple." The report covered a Google patent for an interactive garment and a video covering their Project Jacquard's progress. This is not longer fantasy technology and there's no doubt that Apple and Google will be battling in this space to a certain degree over the next few years.
Milanese Apple Watch Band
While we're on Apple Watch Bands, below is Apple's patent FIG. 3 from today's granted patent 9,826,789 for their Milanese Apple Watch Band
Apple's abstract states: "A metallic mesh material used to form a portion of a band or securing strap for a wearable electronic device. The band may include a magnetic tab for securing a wearable device to the wrist of a user. The tab may include one or magnetic elements that are configured to engage a surface of the mesh to secure the wearable device to the wrist of a user."
Apple Wins a Design Patent for MacBook's Touch Bar
Intellectual Property wise, this has been a big month for the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. On November 4th Patently Apple posted a massive design patent report covering 28 detailed designs awarded to Apple by the Hong Kong Patent Office. On November 14th, Apple was awarded a utility patent covering the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple design patent D803,825 covering the Touch Bar as noted below.
While we're on notebooks, Apple was also granted utility patent 9,829,932 for Apple's bare bones entry MacBook.
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
One More Thing
Lastly, Apple was granted U.S. patent for 9,826,930 for the technology behind the Beddit product. Last month another of Apple's acquired Beddit biometric patents was published in Europe and we posted our report under the byline: "The Original and Detailed 'Beddit' Biometrics Patent, now under Apple's name, was Discovered in Europe Today."
Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Those using abusive language or behavior will result in being blacklisted on Disqus.