Apple Won 59 Patents this week covering Haptics Delivered by a Deformable Trackpad, 3D Glass iPhone & more
Yesterday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple 59 newly granted patents covering haptics by way of a deformable trackpad 3D, a 3D Glass form Factor for iPhone and a few design patents. We wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Haptics Delivered by Deformable Trackpad or Display
The main patent in this report is one covering a "deformable" trackpad and/or display.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 below is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative deformable input device (trackpad) of the type shown in FIG. 17 on a MacBook; FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative fluid-based tactile trackpad (output device)
Further to patent FIG. 17 (MacBook), fluids may be used to control deployment of deformed portion #60 in tactile output device (e.g., a tactile output device mounted in alignment with a display, track pad #124, or other structures in devices. The fluid may be a gas (e.g., air, nitrogen, etc.) or may be a liquid such as a charged liquid or may be a ferrofluid (e.g., a ferromagnetic material formed from suspended ferromagnetic particles in a liquid carrier).
Beyond the fluid based haptics for MacBook displays and trackpad, Apple notes that the fluid based haptics could apply to other future products such as a device housing surface, a fabric surface in a cover, case, or bag, a fabric surface in a watch band, a fabric surface or other surface that covers seating or the interior surfaces of a vehicle or room, a surface that covers a portion of a piece of furniture, or other surfaces.
According to Apple, a "Tactile output device may include a single tactile output element or multiple tactile output elements. The tactile output device may, for example, have an array of tactile output elements that are used to provide a variety of adjustable protrusions, recesses, stiffness variations, vibrations, and other tactile output under the control of the control circuitry.
Tactile output may be provided in response to touch input (e.g., to provide a user who is dragging an on-screen object across a MacBook display with tactile feedback on the shape and location of the on-screen object, etc.) or may be provided independently of touch input (e.g., as an alert or to form an on-screen physical button or key)."
The patent described above was granted to Apple yesterday under number 10,345,905 titled "Electronic devices with deformable displays," which was originally filed in Q3 2019.
3D Glass iPhone Form Factor with Wraparound Display
Apple was granted a series of three patents yesterday covering the same topic of a 3D glass form factor with a wraparound Display for an iPhone. You could review the three patents below:
01: Glass structure having 3D shape and uniform thickness
02: Electronic device with wrap around display, and
03: Electronic devices with convex displays
Apple first experimented with this design form factor years ago with their 2008 iPod as presented below.
As our patent figure shows above, Apple was thinking of taking on a similar form factor for a future iPhone at one point in time. In fact all three of Apple's granted patents were filed between 2015 and 2017 – well after the iPod design was dropped by Apple.
While this form factor seems to be outdated at this point in time, perhaps Apple is still considering this form factor for some kind of entry iPhone for emerging markets or aimed at tweens to keep costs down for families. Only time will tell.
Apple's Key Design Patents Issued this Week
Apple's key granted design patents issued today cover the frame of the iPhone XS and the backplate of the Apple Watch 2 design.
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
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