August 2, 2012

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Wired just published aerial shots of Apple’s data center in Maiden, N.C. from Monday, when construction crews were in the midst of laying foundation for a large structure in a northwest sylvan area, and it appears the company has just begun assembling its Bloom Energy fuel cells for biogas conversion.

According to Wired:

Our flyover captured some pretty clear images of the tactical data center, the massive solar array, and, of course, this new mystery building.

Check out some closeups of the parts below, and Wired for full gallery and details.

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The United States Patent & Trademark Office publicized a year-old Apple patent application today, as noted by Engadget, that described a futuristic iPad cover with a built-in, flexible AMOLED-type display.

The Smart Cover notably houses a touch-sensitive user-interface by way of a “sensor overlaid on the flexible flap display.” A small cover display on the front would also show notifications such as “recent emails, instant messages, or upcoming calendar events.”

Illustrations in the application suggested the inner cover could double as a keyboard, sketching area, solar panel, etc., while the outer-edge of the flexible cover, which is touch-sensitive too, would allow user input and enabling functions like play, pause, fast-forward, and rewind.

“Adding the integrated display to the flexible cover greatly enhances the overall functionality of the tablet device,” explained Apple in the patent application.

The tech passes data, video, and power through a MagSafe-like connector seated on the hinge, but the application further described how power could transfer to the Smart Cover from the tablet via a wireless or wired medium. Wireless charging, however, such as inductive charging, would enable the iPad as a power source for the cover.

The patent application named Fletcher Rothkopf as the inventor. He is a current product manager at Apple, but he previously served as a mechanical design engineer and iPod mechanical engineer and designer for the company.

Most of these USPTO treasures remain folkloric concepts, but it would be nice if this space-age design actually materialized.

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We have been getting some interesting bits and pieces from the Apple vs. Samsung trial this week, and most, of which, are related to early iPhone prototypes referenced in pre trial briefs by Samsung’s lawyers who alleged Apple was inspired by Sony products when creating its initial iPhone concepts. We get some more insight on Apple’s original iPhone plans today thanks to a deposition of former Apple designer Douglas Satzger, as discovered by Network World in recent court filings. Satzger, current VP of Industrial Design at Intel, held various roles at Apple from 1996 to 2008 including Industrial Design Creative Lead and Industrial Design Manager. In the deposition, Satzger claimed Apple had “strong interest in doing two pieces of shaped glass,” while referencing the 0355 model prototype pictured above.

He continued to explain how Apple ultimately chose not to utilize curved glass mainly due to cost:
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