Apple Patent reveals a new iPad Case material that allows Speaker Sound out while keeping Debris from entering the outlets
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to materials for a possible new iPad case or cover that could consist of a material that could provide different volumes of material and provide the case with unique features.
Apple's patent covers the forming of a textile product like felt which can provide one or more regions of selectively reduced density which is created by means of microperforations and/or microbores.
For example, a laser may be used to generate microperforations and/or microbores. In certain embodiments, either or both of a carbon dioxide (CO2) and ultraviolet laser may be used to generate microperforations or microbores; other types of lasers may be used in other embodiments.
By changing the spacing, patterning, diameters or thickness, and depth of the microperforations and/or microbores, the physical characteristics and functionality of the various reduced density regions may be changed.
Such regions may be optimized or enhanced for particular functions, such as optical transmission, audio transmission, bendability, weight reduction, and the like. One particular iPad cover of interest is presented in patent FIG. 7 below.
Apple's patent FIG. 1A below depicts a magnified view of a portion of a fabric incorporating a variety of microperforation-patterns; FIG. 6 is a sample method of manufacturing a textile product having thinned regions; FIG. 7 shows a second sample consumer product formed from a textile product having thinned regions.
More specifically about FIG. 7, Apple describes an iPad case #700 may define one or more acoustic outlets #710 and/or acoustic inlets #715. These acoustic outlets/inlets may be reduced density volumes that include microperforations and/or microbores, thereby thinning the textile fabric sufficiently to permit sound to pass therethrough without substantial impedance or distortion.
Further, "although the acoustic properties of the outlets and inlets may be altered, the visual appearance, and optionally the feel, of these elements may match the rest of the case. The dashed lines signify that these elements, while transmissive, may not form an aperture permitting objects to pass through the textile fabric." In other words, it keeps debris out. However, waterproofing wasn't discussed.
Lastly, the case may also define a light-transmissive section #725. The light-transmissive section may emit light when backlit. For example, when a status indicator is activated, the outputted light may be visible through the light-transmissive section. In some embodiments the light may be visible even though the status indicator is not.
Apple's continuation patent application 20200255996 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q2 2020. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.