updated 04:20 pm EST, Wed December 8, 2010
Covers iPad dock, first-generation MacBook Air
Apple has won some 16 new patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office, says Patently Apple. The most important relates to multi-touch, specifically the concept of two or more controllers operating in a "master/slave" configuration. The win could strengthen Apple's position in future lawsuits, which have become common in relation to multi-touch. Apple notes that the concept could be extended to products outside of its specialties, such as ATMs and ticket terminals.
Another patent covers the hinged I/O port housing found on the original MacBook Air. The design helps to minimize the thickness of the notebook. Although the 2010 MacBook Air jettisons the concept, a patent may prevent other companies from incorporating the idea into their own computers.
Some other notable patents cover the Mac Pro's air cooling system -- which pushes air through separate channels -- and booting from a NAND flash chip, as on iOS devices. Design wins include an iPod nano armband and the specialized iPad dock. Because of the size of the iPad, Apple had to revise the standard iPhone/iPod dock to include a stand, as well as more space around the dock connector.