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Apple Patents Suggest Wedge Shaped Mac with Corrosion Reducing Battery


Written by Steve Brachmann
Posted: January 9, 2013 @ 3:10 pm
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In the first week of 2013, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s published patent applications feature a number of intriguing Apple patents related to laptop design and data transmission systems. MacBook users could find themselves buying a new generation of wedge-shaped laptops, complete with a new lithium ion battery designed to reduce damaging corrosion. Apple also delves into the publishing world with a series of patents meant to improve electronic book design. All of these patent applications were published on Jan. 3, 2013.

Portable Computing Device

U.S. Patent Application No. 20130003280

As Apple acknowledges in the background information for this patent, “the outward appearance of a portable computing system … is important to a user.” Apple hopes that the wedge-shaped laptop design outlined in this patent application will appeal aesthetically to its users, while maintaining functionality.

Components contained within the laptop housing, including high-speed memory cards and processors, are redesigned to fit and operate within the wedge-shaped body. Although the front end of the assembly is too thin to support input connections, many of the typical laptop ports are still available near the back end, where the design is thicker.

As the design is described in claim 1:

A portable computing device, comprising: a wedge shaped body comprising a first end and a tapered second end narrower than the first end, the wedge shaped body having an inclined top surface and formed from a lightweight material and configured to support and enclose a plurality of operational components that are organized in a multi-planar arrangement that conforms to the overall shape of the wedge shaped body and the inclination of the inclined top surface resulting in the portable computing device having a thin profile and high component packing density, the wedge shaped body further configured to present one or more user input components at an angle to an end user of the portable computing device, the user input components presented at the angle to the end user comprising: a keyboard assembly, the keyboard assembly comprising a keyboard having a plurality of pressable key pads, and a touch pad located within and proximate a touch pad opening in the wedge shaped body in proximity to the tapered second end, the touch pad being adapted to accept touch inputs from the end user of the portable computing device and having a support structure that accommodates the wedge shape of the wedge shaped body; a bottom cover having a uniform height and formed of the lightweight material, wherein the wedge shaped body and the bottom cover are secured to each other by way of a plurality of fasteners to form a complete housing for at least a portion of the portable computing device; and a lid portion, the lid portion comprising a display assembly arranged to present visual content.

Battery Pouch Sheet Edge Insulation

U.S. Patent Application No. 20130004835

Lithium ion batteries are lightweight, cheap to manufacture and are increasingly used for laptops and portable electronic devices. Pouch-style lithium ion batteries have already been developed, but Apple’s new design aims to decrease the battery size while preventing corrosion to the battery’s metallic foil core.

The metallic foil core contained within the battery must be protected from oxygen, moisture or other metal contacts, as these can cause corrosion. In the typical pouch-style battery design, this metallic foil core is exposed, requiring extra security tape to create an airtight seal. Apple’s design update surrounds the metallic core with an insulating layer on one side, which is larger than the foil, and a sealant layer on the other. This seals the metallic foil against environmental corrosion without taping, which leaves more space for the electrode assembly that attaches to the battery.

Claim 1 of this patent application describes:

A multi-layer sheet suitable to form a battery pouch, comprising: a core metal layer having a first surface and a second surface that is opposite the first surface; a sealant layer attached to the first surface of the core metal layer; and an insulating layer attached to the second surface of the core metal layer and having a width that is greater than the width of the core metal layer such that the insulating layer extends past an edge of the core metal layer.

Fixed Layout Electronic Publications

U.S. Patent Application No. 20130007592
U.S. Patent No. Application 20130007602
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130007603

This series of patent applications describes a system of publishing electronic texts that would require a fixed layout for pictures, illustrations and other graphical elements. Many electronic books are text-only, whether fiction or non-fiction, and formatting these books for electronic readers is fairly simple. However, the process is much more complex for books that rely heavily on graphics, such as cookbooks, travel books or illustrated children’s books.

Publishers implementing the system described in these patents would be able to fix the layout of visual content and assign content to specific pages; they would also gain more control over font customization, including style and size. This innovation would make it possible for recipe books, illustrated novels or even technical manuals to display neatly on electronic reader screens.

Claim 1 of patent application #20130007602 describes:

A method for rendering a content document of an electronic publication in a fixed layout, the method comprising: obtaining an electronic publication comprising a content document, the content document including or referencing at least one visual content element; determining whether the content document is to be treated as one of: (a) a fixed layout page or (b) a re-flowable document; in response to determining that the content document is to be treated as a fixed layout page: displaying the fixed layout page entirely on a display screen, displaying the at least one visual content element on the fixed layout page, and not allowing the at least one visual content element to re-flow to another page; wherein the method is performed by a computing device.

Once the document layout has been determined and finalized, claim 1 of patent #20130007592 describes:

A computer-implemented method, comprising: parsing a first file of an electronic publication for a value of a first markup language element contained in the first file, the value of the first markup language element specifying whether the electronic publication is to be treated as a fixed-layout publication; and determining whether to treat the electronic publication as a fixed-layout publication based on the value of the first markup language element.

This parsed content file reaches the electronic reader. Claim 1 of patent #20130007603 describes:

A computer-implemented method, comprising: at a device with a display screen: determining whether to treat an electronic publication as one of (a) a fixed-layout electronic publication or (b) re-flowable electronic publication; causing visual content of the electronic publication to be displayed on the display screen on a first fixed-layout page; if the electronic publication is to be treated as a fixed-layout electronic publication, then not allowing the visual content displayed on the first fixed-layout page to re-flow to a second fixed-layout page in response to receiving a command to zoom or magnify the first fixed-layout page to an extent that at least a portion of the visual content displayed on the first fixed-layout page is no longer displayed on the display screen; and if the electronic publication is to be treated as a re-flowable electronic publication, then allowing the visual content displayed on the first fixed-layout page to re-flow to the second fixed-layout page in response to receiving the command to zoom or magnify the first fixed-layout page.

Non-Occluding Earbuds and Methods for Making the Same

U.S. Patent Application No. 20130004011

Apple has been manufacturing earbuds as a listening device for its portable electronic media players since the earliest generations of the iPod. These earbuds are non-occluding as the speakers do not create an airtight seal while sitting in the ear canal. This can allow environmental sound waves to enter the space and affect the sound quality of the song or media file.

The design changes indicated in this patent application aim to improve the design of the earbud’s midmold, the housing containing the earbud’s speakers. These design improvements provide better quality sound leaving from the earbud’s speakers, which must be independently tuned to create the proper bass and treble levels.

As claim 1 describes:

An earbud, comprising: a housing comprising non-occluding and neck members, the non-occluding member including a directional port and an inner wall; a midmold secured to the inner wall of the housing; a first speaker mounted to the midmold such that a front acoustic volume and a back acoustic volume exist within the housing, the front acoustic volume interfacing with the directional port; and a second speaker mounted to the midmold and is acoustically isolated from the front and back volumes, the second speaker operative to direct acoustic signals directly through the directional port.

Systems and Methods for Displaying Notifications Received From Multiple Applications

U.S. Patent Application No. 20130007665

Apple’s iPhone has been a stalwart in the mobile device industry, and this recent patent application describes a way to make app notifications work better for users. Notifications of new activity from downloaded apps remain in the iPhone’s status bar until a user views the notification. Although this connectivity is useful, notifications can build up and become unwieldy for users to navigate with their touchscreens.

This new notification system design can aggregate multiple notifications received from one application into a single notification, reducing the number of modules found in the notification menu. The system also allows users to access notifications through a touchscreen pull-down menu while their device is still locked. iPhone users can customize how they receive notifications.

As claim 1 of the patent application describes, this invention is primarily:

A data processing system, comprising: a processor to execute instructions; a touch processing module; and a memory coupled with the processor to store instructions, which when executed by the processor, cause the processor to interface a notification module of the data processing system with an application programming interface (“API”) calling component and operative to: receive a plurality of notifications from at least one application; detect that the electronic device is operating in a locked state; provide a pull-down option associated with the plurality of notifications; detect whether a user has selected the pull-down option using the touch processing module; and in response to detecting that the user has selected the pull-down option, provide a list of the plurality of notifications to the user.

 


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5 comments
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  1. The first patent looks like an updated MacBook Air. I think the figure included in the article is just an exaggeration of the dimensions of the wedge. See http://is.gd/q9aUY9. So it is probably not the sea change in dimensions/appearance suggested by that particular figure.

  2. Dave-

    It may be an exaggeration, but that figure is from the patent. The fact that the figure in the patent shows such a wedge means that is the innovation that Apple disclosed in the application.

    So if there is any exaggeration it is Apple that is exaggerating, not us. We are just reporting.

    -Gene

  3. Gene, I did not mean to suggest that it was the author of the article or your site exaggerating the shape, but that the figure itself exaggerated the wedge for illustrative purposes (and I should have said figures, since FIGS. 5 and 6 are shown). The wedge is already being used, just not in the stubby form shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the patent, but much more like FIG. 2 of the patent. The MacBook Air image shows that the Air already has a wedge shape like that of FIG. 2. In other words, yes, FIGS. 5 and 6 show a big honking wedge, but the dimensions of FIG. 5 and 6 are not what Apple is going/has gone with.

    I’m pretty sure that this is part of the suite of applications that were filed to protect the Air models that have the wedge shape. See http://www.freepatentsonline.com/8339775.html (US Pat. No. 8,339,775) which is a parent of the one cited in the article, which has the same FIGS. 5 and 6, and which lists a priority date from 2010 (the PCT application also has these FIGS.).

  4. Man, not enough coffee. Sorry for calling the cited published patent application a patent.

  5. Dave-

    That could well be. I guess we will know for sure one way or another eventually. The design does look rather silly if you ask me, although once no longer useful as a computer it could be recycled for use as a doorstop.

    Cheers.

    -Gene

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