updated 09:50 am EDT, Thu May 31, 2007
iPhone Interference Patent
Apple has developed a way to keep the iPhone and any other future wireless handhelds free of interference, according to a newly granted US patent. The filing, originally made just weeks before the iPhone's announcement at Macworld San Francisco, is meant to address the potentially dangerous problem of interference from peripherals brought near or attached to the device. A detector chip placed inside the hardware could be trained to recognize certain classes of add-ons or individual models and warn the user if a device (familiar or otherwise) could disrupt the main signal; this could occur through either an audio or a visual cue, Apple writes. Synchronizing the main device could provide an updated list of accessories to prevent false alarms.
Although potentially usable to block unsafe equipment, the technology could also be used simply to keep the main unit's wireless signal as clean as possible with some add-ons, the description notes. Software onboard the primary handheld could automatically readjust the antenna or its frequency to preserve a clear signal when paired with an accessory that makes only slight incursions into the device's frequency range.
While the patent makes no direct reference to the iPhone and may not have been incorporated into the product shipping in late June, the patent is specifically meant to address concerns regarding cellphones with media abilities as well as more generic wireless mobile devices, ensuring that Apple can use the patent both for the iPhone as well as other hardware types in the near future.