On March 15, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that refines an older 2008 patent on using Ultrasonic bonding in products like the 2009 metal back iPhone and current iPods. Apple may have refined the process of ultrasonic bonding in their latest Apple TV and iPad designs where it's necessary to bring metal and plastic together to save on costs and to keep the devices lighter.
Once in a while we're treated to a new Apple invention that virtually contains a new self-contained world of possibilities and vocabulary to enrich it. It comes out of the blue and feeds our need for meaty new technology brimming with potential. Today is such a day. This is such an invention. Apple's invention reveals a wild world of programmable magnetic devices, and more particularly, to security for computing devices and peripherals that may be provided by programmable magnets. And yet, it reveals so much more than that. Apple envisions this technology eventually working into iOS devices to produce wild haptic effects using Ferrofluids on touchscreens and virtual keyboards. It will also allow Apple's iOS to present light based points on the display as a way to guide a user through a process like a teacher. This is wild stuff folks and it only scratches the surface of what's to come. Grab a coffee, sit back and really enjoy one of the most fascinating patent applications to have surfaced in some time. Update 4 PM MST: Apple reveals inductive charging and/or other wireless charging using coded magnets coming to a new MacBook Dock in a secondary patent.
On January 19, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals the next thing in battery designs. As Apple designs yet thinner devices, and more importantly, a next generation of devices yet unknown, they need to have the ability and flexibility to shape and contour battery designs that will fit their specific dream designs and form factors.
Yesterday, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that revealed their intent to reinvent a cooling system that is known in the industry as an ionic wind generator. This type of cooling system doesn't use a fan or heat sink. The problem with the current design however, is that it's only able to cool limited areas within a computer or device. Apple's reinvention of the ionic wind generator will allow the system to use specialty sensors and mechanisms to redirect cool air to various areas within a computer or device, as needed. This means that it could simultaneously cool down the CPU, GPU and other components such as batteries (in the case of iOS devices and the MacBook), transformers, storage devices, and other components. Yet if the GPU or any other component isn't being used, the system won't waste energy trying to cool down what's not necessary. Just think of it as a "smart" cooling system. Apple's killer attention to detail is legendary. Philosophically speaking, it's what separates the wheat from the chaff.
It was revealed yesterday by the USPTO that Apple has invented a new laser beam focus system that is used on their production lines overseas. Apple's passion for detail drove them to invent their own laser beam calibration system so as to get their spot-welds just perfect. Would we expect anything less from Apple? And on another front this morning, we learn that Apple may shift from IPS to IGZO displays in 2012. A 32" HDTV prototype using IGZO was demonstrated in Japan in October – which may explain one of Apple's motivators for shifting to IGZO displays.
On December 22, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a pair of patent applications from Apple that reveal greater detailing of their next generation Fuel Cell project. The new fuel cells will one day power both iOS and OS X portable devices like the iPhone and MacBook for days, if not weeks at a time. In October we covered Apple's first patent on fuel cell technology in respect to fuel cell plates. Today's patents provide us with greater detail of their fuel cell technology project that even considers implementing MagSafe as a key connector for fuel cell recharging between an iOS device like the iPhone and a MacBook. The race is on to bring next generation fuel cell technology to future portable devices and it appears that Apple may be on the verge of a major breakthrough on this front.
Apple's design and engineering teams have come up with a new way of creating and manufacturing backlit keyboards using a variety of lasers including ultraviolet laser, a green laser, a YAG laser and others depending on the desired size and shape of the graphic that Apple is trying to achieve. The process of creating the right effect will also employ the use of exotic paints such as titanium dioxide-loaded paint, a latex-based paint, a rubber-based paint, a plastic paint, and so on. While Apple illustrates that the new backlit etchings could be used in creating a future desktop keyboard, they also make it clear that the process could be used to create designs, logos, borders and more on iOS devices, televisions, mice, home electronics and far beyond. I'm sure that this process could be used in creating a very cool TV remote – but that's a story for another day.
Yesterday, US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a rather inventive idea of fighting grime on your iOS Devices. We were the first to reveal Apple's initial patent on this subject in August that focused on using a vaporizing method involving a physical vapor deposition chamber. In Apple's latest method, they reveal an alternate method of fighting grime that uses mechanical wave mechanisms that could use audio or physical vibrations. The interesting fact is that Apple has expedited this patent application which was only filed seven months ago. Apple is apparently out to fight grime on all iOS devices in the future, and before you know it, they'll be called the Grime Busters! That's right: Who ya gonna call? Grime Busters!
On December 8, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published several patent applications from Apple that reveal their work on cooling down the exterior of their entire mobile device lineup from iPad to MacBook. Metal exteriors obviously get hotter than other substrates and Apple's latest round of inventions touch on creating "monitoring thermal zones" within each device that could drop the internal temperature as required to keep the exterior cool to the touch. This is also important because heat affects the accuracy of the gyroscope found in all iOS devices. On that point, Apple is shown to have reengineered their gyro so that it'll run cooler in the future. While we all know that Apple offers some of the coolest mobile devices in world today, Apple is now forecasting that they'll have even cooler devices in the future, literally.
Apple Wins Patents for iPhone MIMO-SDMA Algorithms & Next-Generation Circuit Boards for Thinner iOS Designs
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of fifteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our third and final patent report of the day, we cover a number of new powerful iPhone related patents that Apple's legal team will no doubt be able to add to their growing arsenal. The first patent covers the iPhone being able to order and pay for items such as fast food over a wireless network. The second and third patents cover the very complex subject of signal processing algorithms for wireless MIMO communication systems. And lastly, we look at Apple's reinvention of the circuit board that discusses multi-part substrate assemblies that allow Apple to design ever thinner iOS devices.
On December 1, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new two-fold invention. The invention, which is likely a part of an extensive internal research project, is centered on both the use of new light weight and flexible materials for portable devices like the iPad and MacBook Pro and the method of constructing said devices. I doubt very much that this is something that's just around the corner, but Apple's multiple patents on this topic of new materials and processes are every increasing.
The timing of both a new Apple patent application and where I was in Isaacson's biography this past week seemed to coincide perfectly. While our report presents you with a brief overview of Apple's latest toy for Jonathan Ive, the heart of this report really touches on Apple's Magical Design Studio that mercilessly cranked out one hit after another for the past decade to the chagrin of their competitors.
On November 17, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that technically reveals advancements to visual display elements. The new system uses a combination of a light guide system along with microperforations and microlenses to provide high level alignment on at least one axis. Commercially speaking, the new system could advance the way that Apple creates their backlit logo on MacBooks so as to conserve power and take up less space. Interestingly, Apple's outlook for applications for this system extends to Kitchen appliances, a television and all personal computers stationary or portable.
Last year Apple was granted a patent for a "Display that emits circularly-polarized light." We reported on that granted patent in March 2010. Earlier this week the USPTO published Apple's divisional patent application 20110124260 which claimed priority from both 2006 and 2010 patents which were covered in Apple's granted patent. The illustrations found in this latest filing were identical to those used in Apple's granted patent. Considering that the technology was in-hand as far back as 2006 and that the granted patent actually illustrated the technology being used on an iPod Classic, it's clear that Apple was far beyond "exploring" this technology as others have incorrectly reported on this week. Today's report provides you with the reason why Apple filed their divisional patent application this week.
In September Apple was granted a mysterious patent concerning an Improved Laminate Composite material. Today we see that this new laminate composite could be playing a part in a new lighter and more flexible material that could end up in future generations of Apple's iPad in addition to new accessories like headphones and folio-styled cases. Apple's patent intrigues us with rich details about their new 3D knitting process that will produce these next generation materials. It's unknown at this time if Apple will use the lower cost material for entry units alone while retaining aluminum for their higher end units. However, considering that Apple likes to provide consumers with free engraving on such portables during the holiday season, I can't see this being extended to fiber based materials. Then again, time will tell. Update: Another patent has been added to this report that may point to an interesting twist to a future iPad.
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 18 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. Three of today's granted patents related to great design wins for Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad. In this report we cover two additional notables published today that relate to Apple's Multi-Touch Dictionary and their method of spraying Liquid Metal to maintain acceptable internal and external operating temperatures in integrated circuits. Liquid Metal may actually end up in Apple's next iteration of the iMac – and in this report we'll explain why.
Every week we get to peek inside a little corner of Apple's R&D labs in some capacity. This week we're privy to seeing one of Apple's R&D teams thinking of of using a new material that could end up in any number of future Apple products. The material is basically regarded as a composite laminate that could consist of a wide range of materials including glass, synthetics, metals (such as aluminum or titanium) – or even epoxy. Apple's patent is as secretive as they are. It provides absolutely no guidance whatsoever as to how they intend on utilizing this new kind of material – though it's commonly used in real-world products today ranging from an iPad cover to all manner of sporting equipment such as golf clubs, baseball bats, canoes, bikes, skate boards and more. Yet all we know for certain at this point in time is that Apple has been granted a patent for supposedly improving the cosmetic surface of this material.
Basically, most consumers really don't care about how the sexy new iPhone is made; they just want to be able to enjoy buying this stunningly crafted device called the iPhone 4 and get out there and start flashing it in the face of their friends who are sad owners of the thick-brick Android or even the butt ugly Android. They don't really care about the shape of the iPhone's gasket or that the manufacturing process utilizes liquid metal so as to avoid gaps or spaces between the glass and metal members – or that Apple uses alloys with liquid atomic structures. Yet to future engineers and possibly those that will be the next generation of Crazy Ones in Cupertino, it definitely matters. Today's brief report points you to one of many Patents that are behind the coolest iPhone ever – with a few pointers along the way.