updated 04:05 pm EDT, Wed August 16, 2006
Mac mini patent granted
Apple this week was granted three new patents from the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for its sub-desktop Mac mini computer, fluid cooling, and improved image compression techniques. The patent could help provide Apple with an advantage in diminutive desktop computing market, where competitors have traditionally looked to Apple for case designs. On August 15th, 2006, the USPTO published the titles of multiple patents which were granted to Apple, including a design patent for "Computing device [Mac mini]," "Cooling system for electronic devices utilizing fluid flow and agitation," and "System and method using edge processing to remove blocking artifacts from decompressed images." Apple was granted Patent Design No. D526,648 for a computing device that resembles the company's Mac mini. The patent, originally filed in December 2005, was for the the "ornamental design for a computing device, substantially as shown and described," while Patent no. 7,092,254 was for a cooling system. [updated]
Apple's abstract read in part: "The system comprises a housing having an inlet and an outlet, a liquid to be flown from the inlet into the housing and out of outlet to exit the housing. The housing further has an interior portion for an electronic device to reside therein and a vibration transducer coupling to the housing."
"The liquid is flown across the electronic device to dissipate heat from the electronic device. The vibration transducer causes turbulent or agitation in the liquid as the liquid is flown across the electronic device," the abstract continued.
Finally, patent no. 7,092,580 is for a improving image quality after decompression by removing lingering artifacts. Apple's patent filing was for a "system and method using edge processing to remove blocking artifacts comprises an edge processor having an image converter for building an edge representation of a received image, a statistics analyzer for compiling a histogram containing edge intensities of the edge representation, a reference calculator for using the histogram to compute reference values corresponding to the blocking artifacts and an artifact remover for identifying and removing the blocking artifacts using the computed reference values."
Neo contributed to this report.