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Apple patent batch includes inductive charging, antenna-equipped dock

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
A group of 27 patents awarded to Apple on Tuesday includes a patent for a docking station that could offer inductive charging and a "reradiating antenna" that could improve the cellular signal of a device while docked.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published this week a list of 28 patents that it had granted to Apple. Included among the list were filings for a light sensitive display, multi-touch gestures for scrolling lists and resizing content and a process for unlocking a device via gestures.

Perhaps the most interesting patent of the batch was Apple's "Antenna insert" application, as first noted by Patently Apple. The invention details a docking station that could have an antenna for improving wireless signal integrity, inductive charging circuits and even wireless or optical data links.

The background of the application details a problem that has arisen with docks for wireless handheld devices. In order to reduce user exposure to radiation, many companies design their cellular phones with the antennas as far from the user's head as possible, often at the base of the handset. However, such a design sometimes results in interference issues when the device is docked.

Antenna insert patent


Apple's invention would eliminate the issue of interference by incorporating antennas within the docking station that would enhance the wireless performance of the docked handset. Adapters could help ensure that the devices "maintain proper antenna operation" even when attached to accessories, and they could also "enhance the integrity of wireless communication with a handheld device," possibly without the need for a "physical connector."

According to the application, a "reradiating antenna" describes one or more antennas "that both receive and transmit RF signals, such as once and data." Docking station antennas could actually be advantageous to wireless connectivity as they could be tuned to different frequency bands, the inventors noted.

Antenna insert patent


The patent went on to explain charging situations for the dock that would include "inductive coupling" for the circuit. Care would be taken to guarantee the design avoids circuit interactions between the antenna and the charging components.

Victor Tiscareno, John Tang and Stephen Zadesky are listed as the inventors of the patent. Apple filed for the intellectual property on Jan. 7, 2008.

Apple has shown interest in inductive charging in the past. Earlier patent applications depict docking stations with inductance-based systems that could be used in both portrait and landscape mode. Another invention by Apple would make use of the audio cable from headphones as an inductive charging coil.
post #2 of 16

I think this would be a perfect solution to some automobile mounted situations. Apple is doing what they need to do to grab that huge market segment. 

post #3 of 16

It would be helpful if you would list the claims from the patent.  Drawings don't tell you what the patent is really trying to protect.

post #4 of 16

iPhone 5 dock-connector (AKA "the pill" connector) needs to be mag-safe-like IMO (but, probably won't be). This will be the connector for the next many years. Please, Apple. If the next iPhone and the next iPad had this and it was magnetic that would be awesome. You shouldn't need to get used to putting the dock connector in, and like USB and the existing connectors, they shouldn't have an upside down.


Edited by Ireland - 6/27/12 at 7:26am
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by crustyjusty View Post

It would be helpful if you would list the claims from the patent.  Drawings don't tell you what the patent is really trying to protect.

 

www.google.com/patents/

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by toysandme View Post

www.google.com/patents/

And for those that don't want to use Google, http://www.patentlyapple.com

Specifically, http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2012/06/apple-wins-patents-for-inductive-charging-ios-scrolling-rotating-resizing-on-displays.html

Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #7 of 16

Sadly, a proper external antenna connection has not been made available on the iPhone since its introduction. In a car or in remote areas the phone's performance would improve dramatically. For years I lived on the outskirt of a city that required our phones to have an external antenna with a mag mount that sat on top of the fridge, used as a ground plane. We were the only ones with a working cell phone in the area! I'll bet there are many people who can't use iPhones for this reason. There is also a health advantage with this approach since the antenna signal is quite distant from your head. 

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by toysandme View Post

Sadly, a proper external antenna connection has not been made available on the iPhone since its introduction. In a car or in remote areas the phone's performance would improve dramatically. For years I lived on the outskirt of a city that required our phones to have an external antenna with a mag mount that sat on top of the fridge, used as a ground plane. We were the only ones with a working cell phone in the area! I'll bet there are many people who can't use iPhones for this reason. There is also a health advantage with this approach since the antenna signal is quite distant from your head. 

Blah blah blah, antennagate, blah blah blah, cell phone cancer…

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post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by toysandme View Post

Sadly, a proper external antenna connection has not been made available on the iPhone since its introduction. In a car or in remote areas the phone's performance would improve dramatically. For years I lived on the outskirt of a city that required our phones to have an external antenna with a mag mount that sat on top of the fridge, used as a ground plane. We were the only ones with a working cell phone in the area! I'll bet there are many people who can't use iPhones for this reason. There is also a health advantage with this approach since the antenna signal is quite distant from your head. 

 

It probably has more to do with antenna design. With UMTS and LTE using more than one frequency band, you need a better designed antenna, and simply allowing the end-user to plug any old thing into it, will probably result in severe power consumption or damage, let alone exposing the user to the RF.

 

I stopped seeing external antenna connections on devices as soon as GSM devices became available, with the last device with one having being a GAIT device. Since then converge has improved, but cell sectors have shrunk. If you drive more than 10 miles from any town you'll probably lose the signal completely, and the wireless company's excuse is that it's a money losing proposition to put their expensive cell towers up for exactly one person in the middle of nowhere.

 

Inductive charging is always a bad idea for any device big enough to have some kind of physical connector. Yes there may be some desire for this in mobile phones, but it only has a 30% efficiency, so the last place you want this is in mobile phones where the charging circuit may be engaged several times a day, wearing down the battery life rapidly. 

post #10 of 16

If you actually want to read the patent without the Drawings:

 

http://www.latestpatents.com.

 

Patent No: 8,207,906

 

Then take the Patent Number and go to FreePatentsOnline.com

 

Drop the commas.

 

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/8207906.html

 

PDF linked on the page for the complete application with drawings eliminating the need to go to 3rd party sites to put their own theories behind it:

 

Click on the PDF link. Don't do a Save-As as it wants to launch and inline frame.

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/8207906.pdf

post #11 of 16

not sure why this is newsworthy.

 

Apple patents granted on 26 June 2012:

28 US patents granted on 26 June 2012 and assigned to Apple

 

IBM patents granted on 26 June 2012:

52 US patents granted on 26 June 2012 and assigned to IBM

 

Samsung patents granted on 26 June 2012:

115 US patents granted on 26 June 2012 and assigned to Samsung

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post

not sure why this is newsworthy.

Not sure why you still post here, either.

These are the great mysteries of life, I expect.

Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #13 of 16

Inductive charging is hardly new tech... I'm guessing this is about combining inductive charging and external antenna, while preventing interference between antenna and field generated by charger?

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post

not sure why this is newsworthy.

 

Apple patents granted on 26 June 2012:

28 US patents granted on 26 June 2012 and assigned to Apple

 

IBM patents granted on 26 June 2012:

52 US patents granted on 26 June 2012 and assigned to IBM

 

Samsung patents granted on 26 June 2012:

115 US patents granted on 26 June 2012 and assigned to Samsung

 

Quality over quantity is most important in creating business out of research. If you haven't figured that out you are probably still scratching your head at how come Apple is so far ahead of the competition.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

 

Quality over quantity is most important in creating business out of research. If you haven't figured that out you are probably still scratching your head at how come Apple is so far ahead of the competition.

 

Not really..  Apple is far ahead of the competition in marketing, not in technical innovation. Likewise, you would note that most of Samsung's patents are *technical* patents - many of which are also industry standard patents. Apple's patents are *design* patents.

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tool talk View Post

Apple is far ahead of the competition in marketing, not in technical innovation.

No, both.

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