Apple has won 16 new patents published by the the US Patent and Trademark Office today (via PatentlyApple) that cover everything from possible methods of charging future Apple products via solar power, to key multi-touch technology and iOS camera related patents. Certainly more fuel for the ongoing patent wars between Apple and the rest of the smartphone industry.
We already know Apple is experimenting with solar power from past patents, even going as far as considering which company would produce panels for future products. We also heard reports in March of a superthin solar panel layer from French company Wysips that could be rolling out to handset manufactures within a year. Today one of the 16 newly granted patents gets us a step closer by detailing “methods and apparatuses for operating devices with solar power”.
“a solar power tracking apparatus includes, but is not limited to, a voltage converter and a controller coupled to the voltage converter. The voltage converter includes an input capable of being coupled to a solar power source and an output capable of being coupled to an electronic load, such as, for example, a portable electronic device. The voltage converter is configured to monitor or detect an amount of power drawn by the electronic load at the output of the voltage converter. In response to the monitored power drawn, the controller is configured to control the voltage converter to reduce amount of power to be drawn subsequently if the monitored amount of power exceeds a predetermined threshold. As a result, the output voltage from the solar power source is maintained within a predetermined range.”
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Apple will without doubt use everything they have to fend off litigation, so a patent described by the report as a “key multi-touch related patent” detailing innovation in the performance and manufacturing of multi-touch displays may come in handy in the courtroom.
The report explains:
Apple has been granted another key multi-touch related patent titled “Switched Capacitor Projection Scan Multi-Touch Sensor Array. After the iPhone had debuted in 2007, Apple’s John Elias filed a patent that would reduce the cost and advance performance of multi-touch displays by integrating touch sensors into a single surface of the touch substrate for sensor circuitry.
Other patents granted to Apple today would add functionality to the iOS device Camera app by “rotating the display orientation of a captured image” depending on the orientation (portrait or landscape) of your device, as well as a 3D “cover-flow like interface for iMovie.”