Apple won 46 Patents today covering their Ultra-Wideband AirTag System, an iDevice Recycling System, AirPower & more
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 46 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today, the last granted patents for June 2021. In this particular report we cover granted patents for Apple's iPhone-AirTag Ultra-Wideband technology system; for a recycling system for the disassembly of iDevices; and another AirPower invention. And as always, we wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
AirTag System for iDevices
Apple was granted a patent for their AirTag system which was introduced on April 20, 2021. AirTag uses Bluetooth and Apple's custom designed U1 chip using Ultra Wideband technology which is buried deep in Apple's patent claim #15 as follows:
"A method for operating an electronic device having ultra-wideband transceiver circuitry, motion sensor circuitry, control circuitry, a haptic output device, a display, and an axis that extends parallel to the display, the method comprising: with the ultra-wideband transceiver circuitry, receiving a wireless signal from an object; with motion sensor circuitry, gathering motion sensor data; with the control circuitry: determining an angle of arrival of the wireless signal; determining a distance to the object at least partly based on the wireless signal; and determining an orientation of the electronic device relative to the object based at least partly on the motion sensor data and the determined angle of arrival of the wireless signal, wherein determining the orientation of the electronic device relative to the object comprises determining a non-zero angle between the object and the axis; with the display, displaying a visual guide on a non-camera view background that guides the user to the object based on the distance to the object and based on the orientation of the electronic device relative to the object, wherein the control circuitry adjusts a characteristic of the visual guide on the non-camera view background in response to a change in distance to the object and adjusts a location of the visual guide on the non-camera view background in response to a change in orientation of the electronic device relative to the object; and with the haptic output device, providing haptic output when the electronic device is pointed at the object."
Apple's patent FIG. 7 below is a diagram of an illustrative network of objects that an iPhone (#10) may recognize and/or communicate wirelessly with; FIG. 12 is a front view of an iPhone having a display from which a user may select an item to be found (as part of "Find My).
Apple's patent FIG. 13 above is a front view of an iPhone having a display on which a list of directions is displayed to direct a user to an item; FIG. 14 is a front view of an iPhone having a display on which a compass is displayed to direct a user to an item; and FIG. 15 is a front view of an iPhone having a display on which an arrow is displayed to direct a user to an item (which is the method currently employed for AirTag discovery as shown below from Apple's AirTag video).
Apple's patent FIG. 16 below illustrates how control circuitry may use the camera function to help guide a user to a lost item. Apple's patent presents a future vision of an advanced 'Find My' for AirTags scenario using the iPhone's camera to zero and point to a lost item. Whether that will make it to market in the future, is unknown at this time.
For more details, review granted patent 11,047,702
Modular System for automated iDevice Disassembly
Apple was granted a patent today for a method for processing electronic components associated with a portable electronic device by a conveyor system subsequent to removing the electronic component from a housing of the portable electronic device, where the conveyor system includes a container that is capable of carrying the electronic component.
The method can include depositing, at a receiving station of the conveyor system, the electronic component within a cavity of the container. The method can further include while moving the container that carries the electronic component from the receiving station in a direction towards a removal station of the conveyor system: monitoring a temperature of the electronic component, and in response to determining that the temperature of the electronic component exceeds a temperature threshold range associated with a thermal event: cooling the electronic component by dissipating thermal energy associated with the thermal event.
Apple's patent FIG. 1A illustrates a system diagram of a modular system for disassembling portable electronic devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch); FIG. 2A illustrates a flow diagram of a method for disassembling a portable electronic device.
Apple's patent FIG. 12D above is a perspective view of the second module (#120) that illustrates removing the electronic component #256-1 at the removal station (#850). In some examples, FIG. 12D illustrates the second module subsequent to the detector #1232 determining that the thermal energy of the electronic component #256-1 has been sufficiently expended so as to enable safe removal of the electronic component from the second module.
For more details, review granted patents 11,051,441 and 11,045,913.
Patent #3: AirPower+
Apple has been granted yet another AirPower (Wireless charging mat). In this version of the AirPower Apple notes that "The control circuitry can determine whether the wireless power receiving device has moved by comparing current and voltage information from the wireless power receiving device to the family of load lines and can take appropriate action such as measuring coil inductances for use in subsequent coil selection operations.
For more on this, read the full granted patent 11,050,307
The Remaining Patents Granted to Apple Today