updated 10:45 am EDT, Wed March 18, 2009
Five granted Apple patents
Apple has been granted five new patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office, documents note. Among the more interesting to the public may be one for a unique iPod dock, shaped to fit a car's cupholder; the device would solve the problem of creating a solid mount in a car while potentially charging a player and/or feeding audio out of it. A spool could be included to keep cords organized, and sleeves could be supplied to cope with different cupholder sizes. As the patent was originally filed in 2005 however, Apple may be unlikely to turn it into an end product.
The company has managed to secure patents on two industrial designs already in use, namely the iPod shuffle and the USB connector cable for iPods and iPhones. The former applies only to the second-generation Shuffle, as opposed to the newly-shipped third-generation model which omits key design features of the patent such as an inline button pad.
Apple has additionally been granted two systemic patents. The first describes special circuitry in a power supply, used to control the delivery of power to other devices. The supply could also be set to trigger a shutdown, for instance in case of a serious error. The second patent suggests a means of handling multiple serial bus nodes, using separate configuration ROMs; the Apple technology relates specifically to FireWire connections.