Apple patents method of building feature-rich cylindrical devices, hints at Siri home spea...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2017
Lending credence to rumors of a cylindrical "Siri speaker," Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent covering the operating design of a component-rich tubular device, and methods for manufacturing the same.





Source: USPTO


As published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple's U.S. Patent No. 9,651,999 for an "Electronic device with radially deployed components" details a method of mounting multiple components attached to a cylindrical carrier, which is consequently installed in a similarly shaped housing.

While the IP appears to cover existing products like the Mac Pro, embodiments contained within are more suitable to smaller, sealed devices like a rumored "Siri speaker" thought to debut as soon as next month.

Specifically, the invention outlines techniques by which touch displays, microphones, accelerometers, gyroscopes, sensors, speakers, lights and other electronics are seated on specially designed support structures. To be mounted within the interior cavity of a cylindrical device housing, these carriers act as the undergirding for a variety of electronic components.




Importantly, assembly methods allow the various components to lie flush or nearly flush with a cylindrical casing, which in some cases may feature openings disposed above certain parts. For example, mesh grills might be installed for speakers and microphones, while glass or plastic covers protect onboard displays.

Integral to the filing is the methodology of deploying said components into their respective final mounted positions. Apple describes a number of techniques for radially deploying components and component structures, or moving components outward toward the device housing. In all cases, a support structure or component is aligned within the housing, then translated or pushed into position.

The process can be carried out using a variety of methods, including screws, ramp structures, posts and special deployment tools. In most cases, a gasket surrounds the operating component to seal it against the housing wall, though gaps might remain for acoustics or airflow.




The patent in some ways applies to the design of Apple's Mac Pro, which deposits its operating components on a unique triangular heat sink hidden beneath a sleek cylindrical aluminum housing. Unlike the methods detailed in today's invention, the Mac Pro when covered only seals off certain points. This ensures critical electronics receive adequate airflow, while leaving leeway for users to remove the housing for maintenance.

Identical manufacturing techniques might also be applied to Apple's anticipated Siri-powered home speaker, which is rumored to sport a cylindrical design akin to the Mac Pro. Expected to debut as a rival to existing voice-first virtual assistants like Amazon's Echo product line, the supposed device might make an appearance at WWDC in June.

Along with stellar acoustics and Siri smarts, the supposed device is rumored to boast AirPlay technology, Apple's W1 chip and a custom A-series processor.

In a recent note to investors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he expects the device to integrate some type of dedicated "touch panel" alongside basic physical controls. Whether that means a touch sensitive display like the recently announced Amazon Echo Show, or simple capacitive buttons, is unclear.

Apple's cylindrical device patent was first applied for in May 2015 and credits Phillip Michael Hobson, Nathan P. Bosscher, John J. Baker, Craig M. Stanley and Brad G. Boozer as its inventors.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    No, no. It's the new Mac. Pro. :D  !
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Isn't Siri still in beta? 
    repressthis
  • Reply 3 of 17
    No, no. It's the new Mac. Pro. :D  !
    i think this will be the new mac mini.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 958member
    My hope is that the "Siri device" doubles as some sort of next-generation Airport mesh router. The size and placement of these units would have a great deal of overlap. 
    digital_guy
  • Reply 5 of 17
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    Accelerators? Maybe the new iPhone is swallowable? Blue or red iPill? :)
    repressthis
  • Reply 6 of 17
    CelTanCelTan Posts: 46member
    Why does it need to be cylindrical?
    bdkennedy1002
  • Reply 7 of 17
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,299member
    CelTan said:
    Why does it need to be cylindrical?
    It doesn't...Apple is just choosing to make it so. 
    repressthis
  • Reply 8 of 17
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,981member
    Regardless of which product or products this is eventually used for, this design is seriously thought through.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    I hope they come in 4, 6 or 8 cylinders.
    SpamSandwichrepressthis
  • Reply 10 of 17
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,246member
    I hope they come in 4, 6 or 8 cylinders.
    8, 10, or 12 would be better.
    king editor the grate
  • Reply 11 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    jbdragon said:
    I hope they come in 4, 6 or 8 cylinders.
    8, 10, or 12 would be better.
    Preferably V-12.
    king editor the graterepressthishmurchison
  • Reply 12 of 17
    themacmanthemacman Posts: 151member
    Apple TV. 
  • Reply 13 of 17
    Maybe it's actually a cylinder-rich feature device.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    repressthisrepressthis Posts: 519member
    Why would this rumored Siri cylinder need a gyroscope and accelerometer?? Will it decouple from its charging base to function as an oversized, dork-inducing remote controller for Apple TV? Chunky light saber? 
    gatorguy
  • Reply 15 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,374member
    Why would this rumored Siri cylinder need a gyroscope and accelerometer?? Will it decouple from its charging base to function as an oversized, dork-inducing remote controller for Apple TV? Chunky light saber? 
    That's a great question. It never occurred to me that an Echo-like device doesn't have a readily-apparent need for those.
    repressthis
  • Reply 16 of 17
    I think it's a remote controlled Japanese toilet paper holder with a fan.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,844member
    CelTan said:
    Why does it need to be cylindrical?
    Makes it easier to recess in the ceiling?

    repressthis
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