Apple Wins Patents for a new iPhone Case Concept and an Alternative Round Watch Interface for Apple Watch
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 60 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a possible next generation iDevice cover concept using magnetics in a new way that will allow an iPhone to sit on a table upright as presented in our cover graphic above. The second granted patent covered in this report is for a round interface for Apple Watch, Apple's second granted patent within the last month.
Patent: iDevice Case with Balanced Hinge
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to a new iDevice case that can serve as a stand for the computing device and that provide some amount of torsional force for canceling out static and dynamic loads of the computing device when upright, or at least partially upright.
Apple's patent FIG. 6A below illustrates a front perspective view of an embodiment of a case that is attached to a back surface of the computing device, with the back surface opposite the display; IG. 6B illustrates a rear isometric view of the case shown in FIG. 6A; and FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of an embodiment of a case that can include one or more flexible regions and conductive pathways for operating electrical components embedded in the case #700.
Patently Apple covered this invention in-depth back in August 2017 in a report titled "Apple Reveals all-new iDevice Case Concepts for iPad & iPhone with an Embedded Keyboard & More." Check it out for more graphics and details here.
Apple's granted patent 9,966,984 was originally filed in Q3 2016 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Two of the inventors listed on this invention include Nicholas Treadwell, Product Design Engineer who came to Apple via Yamaha personal watercraft and General Electric as a rotating parts design engineer; James Stryker, Manager Product Design at Apple who came to Apple via Esko Bionics.
Patent: Apple Watch with Circular Interface
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to displays with curved edges. Apple notes that rectangular pixel arrays will not fit efficiently within a device having a circular shape. Circular displays can have bottleneck regions in which signal lines become crowded, leading to inefficient use of display area.
Apple's invention works to overcome this traditional drawback so that a round interface could be used in a future Apple Watch should Apple decide to experiment and offer a single model with a more traditional watch interface.
Considering that Apple filed for this patent 8 months after the original Apple Watch debuted with its rectangular interface and likely years after the original Apple Watch patents for a watch, Apple's management gave their engineers this project to work on. So this isn't a rejected design after the fact, it's a purposeful engineered solution to make a round interface work for Apple Watch should Apple ever decide to bring this to market.
So while naysayers and pundits alike will repeat like parrots that Apple will never go this round interface for reasons a, b and c, the fact is that Apple themselves gave their engineers the green light to make a round interface work in the future. In fact, today's granted patent is the second one on this invention in the last month showing the depth of work by the engineers and Apple Legal on this alternative interface invention.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an illustrative electronic device having a circular display; FIG. 5 is a top view of an illustrative display; and FIG. 8 is a top view of an illustrative electronic device having a round display.
The first granted patent's patent claims placed a lot of emphasis on display driver circuitry. Today's granted patent claims emphasizes "curved edges," a "circular array of pixels," and "first and second columns of the pixels," amongst other refinements.
This is Apple's second win for this invention in the last month. We covered Apple's first granted patent here with more detail. Apple's granted patent 9,965,995 was originally filed in Q1 2016 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
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