There are a couple of new patents and patent applications popping up today. First, we look at a new patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and detailed by PatentlyApple; it shows Apple’s work on inductive charging docks. Phil Schiller might not be a big fan of wireless charging, but Apple is clearly working on possible solutions. Apple’s charging dock could initiate different functions, such as charging, syncing, or transfer data between devices, depending on the device’s orientation while on the docking surface. It might also include an intelligent sidebar consisting of a display, UI, sensors, or other components for controlling the docking station:
In some embodiments, the surface may be configured to inductively charge the user device when the user device is placed on the surface… A docking device may include, for example, processing equipment, input/output (I/O) interfaces, memory, a power supply, any other suitable components, or any combination thereof. A docking device may be configured to charge a user device, act as a conduit in the transfer of data between the user device and a host device, synchronize data with the user device, transfer data with the user device (e.g., upload, download), run diagnostics for the user device, synchronize data between more than user devices, perform any other suitable docking function for a user device placed on the surface, or any combination thereof. One or more docking functions may be selected, performed, or both, by the docking device depending on a physical orientation of the user device on the surface.
Another patent application discovered today by UnwiredView walks through a few inventions that Apple could be considering for future mobile devices. Most of which we have heard about in the past, but we get an even closer look today at Apple’s work with flexible displays, tactile feedback, laser microphones and modified components that would come as a result:
But the shape of displays or devices themselves is not the most interesting or important part of this. It’s what else flexible surface of the display would allow Apple to do – like replacing and improving all traditional input/output elements of the phone… E.g. – by placing an array of piezoelectric actuators below the display and activating them on demand for tactile feedback…Call up a keyboard, actuators pop up and now you can feel the letters as you type… put a transducer behind it to transform electric current into vibrations, add some support structure/barrier around it and that part of your flex display becomes a speaker membrane…. Put an array of transducers behind the screen and you got yourself a bunch of display based speakers. Get each transducer to vibrate differently, and now your iPhone can have subwoofers, woofers, mid-range speakers, tweeters…
PatentlyApple also covered another new Apple patent today that details a method of providing contextual information for Apple TV content to mobile devices and potentially integrated with cable providers.