Apple Granted 38 Patents Today Covering Trackpad Mode for Smart Keyboard, HomePod with 5G Wireless Antenna and more
Report Updated 2:30 PST Added Photo of Google's Pixel Slate having an attachable keyboard with a trackpad.
On November 15th Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Patent Confirms Future Support for Unique Trackpad-Like Functionality for the iPad Pro's Smart Keyboard & more." Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 38 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today and one of the key patent wins is for the Smart Keyboard with new trackpad mode and mouse support.
Other patent wins today cover a stand alone speaker (HomePod) with wireless connectivity up to 5G Networks with millimeter wave antennas, magic trackpad, Find your Car and more. We 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: iPad Pro Smart Keyboard with Trackpad Mode & Mouse Support
Apple's newly granted patent 10,139,868 covers their invention relating to advancements to the Smart Keyboard supporting a trackpad mode in addition to supporting a mouse.
Apple notes in their granted patent that "As an example of touch input entered through the surface of the keyboard a user may enter gestures in conjunction with a displayed cursor. For instance, by operating the keyboard as a trackpad, a cursor (or pointer) may be displayed on a display screen or touch screen and the cursor may be controlled via touch input on the surface of the keyboard 106 to interact with graphical objects on the display screen.
Further into the patent Apple notes that "In addition to the touchscreen, the tablet computer may receive input from other sources such as a keyboard, mouse, or possibly other devices."
Today there's a Google Pixel Slate blitz on with reviews flying in from USA Today, ZDNet, Engadget and others. The maddening thing that you notice right out of the gate is that, like Microsoft's Surface line, Google's attachable keyboard offers a trackpad like our photo above proves out. Why is Apple so late in delivering this feature?
Apple's granted patent shows that Apple has a few ideas on this feature, though I think Apple fans would prefer a straight forward trackpad instead of having to put the keyboard into a trackpad mode. The switching back and forth in and out of this mode would get under a user's skin pretty quickly.
Granted Patent: Speaker with Wireless Communications Supported
Apple's newly granted patent 10,141,631 covers their invention relating to a speaker device with wireless circuitry. Being that this is a utility patent, the patent figures only need to convey "concept" of a stand-alone speaker and not the end product like is required for a design patent.
While Apple may have considered a Beats-like boom box in 2015 when this patent filing was made, we know that Apple actually delivered HomePod in February of this year. Everything in the patent is applicable to any standalone speaker device Apple creates.
Noteworthy in this patent is that the speaker device is to support wireless connectivity and even phone/data support on next-gen 5G networks.
Apple's patent notes that "Radio-frequency transceiver circuitry and antenna may be used to handle one or more radio-frequency communications bands. For example, the circuitry may include wireless local area network transceiver circuitry that may handle a 2.4 GHz band for WiFi and/or Bluetooth communications and, if desired, may include 5 GHz transceiver circuitry. If desired, the circuitry and antenna may handle communications in other bands (e.g., cellular telephone bands, near field communications bands, bands at millimeter wave frequencies for 5G networks, etc.).
Two other patent wins today of minor interest cover Magic Trackpad and their software feature known as 'Find your Car'.
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today