updated 12:25 pm EDT, Thu September 11, 2008
Apple iPhone dock patent
Though the device has already been on sale in one form or another since last year, the US Patent and Trademark office today published Apple's patent application for iPhone docks. The filing is specifically titled Personal media device docking station having an acoustic interface, and documents the features that separate iPhone docks from regular iPod ones, which technically accept iPhones but may cause some problems.
The brunt of the patent addresses sound, as a normal iPod dock blocks both an iPhone's microphone and its bottom speakers. Aside from cutting away part of the lip, an iPhone dock actually includes internal channels, designed to funnel sound out so it remains clear. A variant design of the dock could also include a gap directly underneath an iPhone, designed to reduce feedback and interference from the speakers and/or microphone.
The patent is credited to Wim Crooijmans of San Jose, and Richard Paul Howarth of San Francisco.