Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to providing an iPhone user the ability to take a photo and convert it into a custom designed iPhone or iPad case made of fabric.
Apple's granted invention covers a fabric case for an electronic device that includes a back panel having a periphery and side walls that extends around the periphery. The back panel and the side wall may be joined monolithically or may be joined using seams.
The back panel may include a knit image of a digital photograph or other design. The design of the back panel may be customized according to the designer's tastes. The designer may be a user of the case or electronic device, or the designer may be a manufacturer of the case or electronic device.
The case may be designed and constructed using computing equipment and knitting equipment. The computing equipment may receive a user-selected digital image from the user. The computing equipment may use image processing software to reduce the resolution and the number of colors in the digital image according to the specifications of the textile machine.
Fabric pattern design software may convert the digital image into knitting instructions. The knitting instructions may be executed by knitting equipment to produce a back panel for a fabric case. The back panel may have a knit image of the digital photograph. The back panel may include rows and columns of knitted loops of colored yarn. Each loop may form a pixel in the knit image. The knit image may be located on an exterior surface of the fabric case. The back panel may be attached to a peripheral side wall to form a recess that receives the electronic device.
Apple's patent FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate an iPhone and an iPhone case; FIG. 8 is a diagram showing how a customized fabric case may be created from a picture in accordance with an embodiment.
Apple's patent FIG. 10 above is a top view of an illustrative knit fabric that may be used to form the fabric case; FIG. 11 is a flow chart of illustrative steps involved in forming a customized fabric case for a user.
Apple rarely limits their inventions to a single product and in this case the customizable custom case could be extended to Macs, smartglasses, the iPad, a vehicle, HMD and beyond.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 10,995,433