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Apple's research into curved battery technology points to new iOS products designs

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
A pair of patent applications Apple filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveal the company is working on unorthodox battery designs with curved cells and irregular shapes, suggesting slimmer, more shapely iOS devices could be on the horizon.

Battery
Source: USPTO


The patents filings (1, 2), for "Curved battery cells for portable electronic devices" and "Non-rectangular batteries for portable electronic devices," both describe methods in which a battery can be designed and manufactured for incorporation into slim, new device chassis.

Both filed for on Oct. 28, 2011, the applications call for battery cells to be manipulated during the manufacturing phase in order to facilitate easy installation into curved and non-rectangular device designs.

For example, the invention regarding curved batteries uses industry standard production techniques, which include a set of layers, a cathode, an anode, a separator and active coatings, before manipulating the unit to a given specification. Like some batteries already on the market, Apple's proposed design uses a flexible pouch to enclose the cell layers created by the separator.

Battery
Source: USPTO


The pouch is then exposed to pressure of "at least 0.13 kilogram-force (kgf) per square millimeter" and heat of about 85 degrees Celsius in a set of curved plates in order to set the shape. As noted, this process may take as long as four hours.

In some embodiments, the curve is held by employing a binder coating within the battery cell, which is activated during the curing process to laminate the layers together. The resulting structure would be solid and take the shape of curved plates.

From the filing's summary:

In some embodiments, the curve is formed to facilitate efficient use of space inside a portable electronic device. For example, the curve may be formed at one or more ends of the battery cell to allow the battery cell to occupy a curved and/or rounded space within the enclosure of a laptop computer, tablet computer, mobile phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), digital camera, portable media player, and/or other type of battery-powered electronic device.


In the second application a similar method is employed, but where the former uses pressure and heat to set the shape, the "non-rectangular" property removes material from the battery before stacking the cell layers. An example is given of how a non-rectangular shape can be achieved by removing material from one or more sides of the anode and cathode to form a rounded corner. By utilizing this method, varying thicknesses can be achieved, such as those seen in the fourth-generation iPad.

Battery
Source: USPTO


Both techniques aim to shape a battery that fits snugly into a device's housing, thereby reducing wasted internal space. While merely speculation, the battery designs could be used in an upcoming version of the iPhone or iPad, both of which are becoming increasingly slim as consumers demand thin, lightweight portables.

Also a possibility is the use of such battery design in an iPhone with a "wrap-around" display, the patent of which passed through the USPTO in late March. While it is unlikely that such a device will make it to market in the near future, if ever, the recent patent filings show Apple is continuously looking for innovative ways to save space in its iOS device lineup.

Both patent applications credit Ramesh C. Bhardwaj, John Raff, Stephen R. McClure, Erik L. Wang and Taisup Hwang as their inventors.
post #2 of 25

Curved battery? What will they think of next...

 

post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Curved battery? What will they think of next...



Diesel for smartphones?
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Curved battery? What will they think of next...

 

Smallest nuclear reactor to power mobile phones. :)

post #5 of 25
It's obvious Apple's next break through product will be a sex toy!
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It's obvious Apple's next break through product will be a sex toy!

 

With on device video editing.
post #7 of 25
Wearable computers would likely need curved batteries and other components to match natural contours.

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post #8 of 25
This is probably for the iWatch. A guy I know at Samsung says they are making chips for the next iPhone and watch. He has no reason to not tell the truth but there is no way to verify. I hope it's true.
post #9 of 25

It was really helpful to see the illustration twice in this article. The first time I was like, what? What's that? Then the second time I was like, oh, I see. It's curved.

post #10 of 25


Send from my iPhone. Excuse brevity and auto-corrupt.
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Send from my iPhone. Excuse brevity and auto-corrupt.
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post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by yanchu View Post

This is probably for the iWatch. A guy I know at Samsung says they are making chips for the next iPhone and watch. He has no reason to not tell the truth but there is no way to verify. I hope it's true.

Would anyone at Samsung really know what the chips would be used for outside of corporate espionage or simply guessing?

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post #12 of 25
The fact is nobody knows outside of Apple. The chips for the phone and iPad are pretty much will be the same save for a few changes. This is a new chip. He prob just made an educated guess.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by yanchu View Post

The fact is nobody knows outside of Apple. The chips for the phone and iPad are pretty much will be the same save for a few changes. This is a new chip. He prob just made an educated guess.

What would probably ring a bell in my head would be if it's very small and power efficient but also highly proprietary, which would rule out the iPod Shuffle.

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post #14 of 25
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... the battery designs could be used in an upcoming version of the iPhone or iPad ...

 

And maybe also in an upcoming version of the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

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post #15 of 25
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Wearable computers would likely need curved batteries and other components to match natural contours.

 

Maybe.  It depends on how "wearable" they are and how much power they actually need.  I doubt the iPod shuffle needs a curved battery.

 

On the other hand, Apple's other non-wearable mobile devices could benefit from the curved battery technology.  This would allow Apple to maintain battery capacity while shrinking enclosures.  By fitting the same battery volume right to the edges of the enclosures, which are all curved in one way or another right now.  (iPad 4th gen: tapered edges, iPhone 4/4S/5: rounded corners, etc.)

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post #16 of 25

As long as they don't return to these kinds of curves we'll be OK

 

 

 

.

 

 

 
Not taken from the net, this is from my older 15" MBP.  Had to have the whole body replaced in two stages as the trackpad and then keyboard stopped working.  No, not the battery they said...
post #17 of 25

I thought Apple already had patented curves.

post #18 of 25
More Iwatch stuff!
This could be just a way to make it bigger in there smaller devices however...
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Wearable computers would likely need curved batteries and other components to match natural contours.

 

Two words: Liquid Metal enclosures

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #20 of 25
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post
Two words: Liquid Metal enclosures

 

Three words: that wasn't two words.

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Three words: that wasn't two words.

 

Four words: that wasn't three words.

post #22 of 25
Originally Posted by Frood View Post
Four words: that wasn't three words.

 

This sentence has five words.

post #23 of 25
This sentence is false.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ed17331 View Post

This sentence is false.

 

That is a true sentence.

post #25 of 25
If it is true, then it must be false.
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