updated 09:51 am EST, Tue December 18, 2012
SoC patent could lock down Apple's A-series technology
Apple has won a pair of new patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office. The first, Systems and methods for providing a system-on-a-substrate, documents the architecture of a system-on-chip (SoC) in the style used for Apple's mobile devices. Specifically it talks about locating all of the same components for a system on the same substrate, in "bare die" form. Apple notes that a bare die can include parts like processors, memory, controllers, accelerometers, and so on.
To increase the amount of space available, components can in some cases actually pass through one another. Another solution involves a flexible printed circuit board coupled to the SoC, which can extend beyond the die but still link components to it.
Apple originally applied for the patent in September 2009, only a few months away from announcing the iPad, the first device to use an Apple-designed SoC. Since then the iPhone and iPod touch have gone the same route; even the current Apple TV uses an Apple-designed processor.
The other new patent covers a variant of the current Preview function in OS X. This involves an app which can be used to preview many different documents in the same window, and search for keywords in them without having to launch their associated apps. One difference with the actual Preview is that while Apple uses a "book" metaphor in the patent, that hasn't carried over to the real world.