updated 12:05 pm EDT, Tue July 28, 2009
Apple component patents
Apple has won a collection of new patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office, linked to a wide variety of products. Among these is the Apple TV, for which Apple has been granted a patent on the set-top's remote. The remote is able to identify expected light sources in the midst of ambient ones, such as reflections.
Another patent covers the hinge in the MacBook Air, designed to cope with the extreme thinness of the computer. Because the base materials in such a system may not be able to support a hinge, Apple has devised a complex series of rotations which make it possible to relocate a hinge farther up. Pins and links support the motion of the computer's lid.
Apple has also been granted a number of industrial design patents, covering software as well as hardware. Animations on the iPhone's Home screen are now protected, for instance, as are two iterations of the Mac OS X Dock interface. Hardware patents cover accessories, namely the stock iPhone earbuds, an iPod dock insert, and the official iPhone 3G dock. iPhone docks are atypical in requiring channels for audio to escape.