Apple today won 46 patents covering its ultra-wideband AirTag system, iDevice recycling system, AirPower and more
The United States Patent and Trademark Office today officially released a series of 46 newly granted patents for Apple Inc., the latest patents granted for June 2021. In this particular report, we cover the patents granted for the Apple iPhone-AirTag ultra-wideband technology system; for a recycling system for disassembling iDevices; and another AirPower invention. And as always, we end this week’s Granted Patents report with our traditional list of remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
AirTag System for iDevices
Apple obtained a patent for their AirTag system which was iintroduced on April 20, 2021. AirTag uses Bluetooth and the custom-designed Apple U1 chip using Ultra Wideband technology which is buried deep in Apple’s patent claim # 15 as follows:
A method of operating an electronic device having ultra-wideband transceiver circuits, motion sensor circuits, control circuits, a haptic output device, a display, and an axis that extends in parallel on display, the method comprising: with the ultra-wideband transceiver circuitry receiving a wireless signal from an object; with motion sensor circuits, collecting motion sensor data; with the control circuits: determining an angle of arrival of the wireless signal; determining a distance to the object at least in part based on the wireless signal; and determining an orientation of the electronic device relative to the object based at least in part on the data of the motion sensor and the determined angle of arrival of the wireless signal, wherein determining the orientation of the device electronics with respect to the object includes determining a non-zero angle between the object and the axis; with the screen, displaying a visual guide on a view background other than that of a camera that guides the user to the object based on the distance to the object and based on the orientation of the electronic device relative to the object, wherein the control circuitry adjusts a characteristic of the visual guide on the background of the non-camera view in response to a change in distance to the object and adjusts a location the visual guide on the background of the non-camera view in response to a change in orientation of the electronic device relative to the object; and with the haptic output device, providing haptic output when the electronic device is pointed at the object. “
Apple’s patent FIG. 7 below is a diagram of an illustrative network of objects that an iPhone (# 10) can recognize and / or communicate wirelessly with; FIG. 12 is a front view of an iPhone having a display from which a user can select an item to find (under “Find My).
Apple’s patent FIG. 13 above is a front view of an iPhone having a screen on which a list of routes is displayed to direct a user to an item; FIG. 14 is a front view of an iPhone having a screen on which a compass is displayed to direct a user to an item; and fig. 15 is a front view of an iPhone having a screen on which an arrow is displayed to direct a user to an item (which is the method currently used for AirTag discovery as shown below from Apple’s AirTag video).
Apple’s patent FIG. 16 below illustrates how control circuits can use the camera function to help guide a user to a lost object. Apple’s patent presents a future vision of an advanced “Find My” scenario for AirTags using the iPhone’s camera to zero and point to a lost object. It is not yet known whether this will hit the market in the future.
For more details, see the issued patent 11 047 702
Modular system for automated disassembly of iDevice
Apple today obtained a patent for a method of processing electronic components associated with a portable electronic device by a conveyor system after removing the electronic component from a housing of the portable electronic device, the conveyor system comprising a container capable of transporting the electronic component.
The method may include depositing, at a receiving station of the conveyor system, the electronic component within a cavity of the container. The method may further include, upon moving the container which transports the electronic component from the receiving station in a direction to a collection station of the conveyor system: monitoring a temperature of the electronic component, and in response to the determination that the temperature of the electronic component exceeds a temperature threshold range associated with a thermal event: cooling of the electronic component by dissipating thermal energy associated with the thermal event.
Apple’s patent FIG. 1A illustrates a system diagram of a modular system for dismantling portable electronic devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch); FIG. 2A illustrates a flowchart of a method for disassembling a portable electronic device.
Apple’s patent FIG. 12D above is a perspective view of the second module (# 120) which illustrates the removal of electronic component # 256-1 at the removal station (# 850). In some examples, FIG. 12D illustrates the second module after detector # 1232 determines that thermal energy from electronic component # 256-1 has been expended enough to allow safe removal of the electronic component from the second module.
For more details, see the issued patents 11,051,441 and 11,045,913.
Patent n ° 3: AirPower +
Apple got another AirPower (wireless charging mat). In this version of AirPower, Apple notes that “The control circuit can determine whether the wireless power receiving device has moved by comparing the current and voltage information of the wireless power receiving device to the load line family and can take appropriate actions such as measuring coil inductances for use in subsequent coil selection operations.
To learn more about this, read the granted patent in its entirety. 11,050,307
Remaining patents granted to Apple today