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06-05-2009, 09:37 AM #1
Apple to Aesthetically Illuminate iPods and Add a Hidden Microphone
On June 4, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published another patent, #20090141459. Sole credit of the patent application lists Douglas Joseph Weber of Arcadia California. The patent describes methods and hardware pertaining to providing "invisible holes" through the casing and external surfaces of the iPod Touch. This technology may be used in other future Apple products as it does not specifically name the iPod though Figure 1 from the patent application does show the device.
Some people may just think of this as yet another patent without merit, but I would like to note that Apple is continuously innovative which is keeping them in the game. Apple has pointed out, however that their yet unreleased Unibody iPod Classic which was first revealed in April of this year, to include an illuminating twist or two.
While the main focus of the patent appears the be based on enhancing the aesthetics of future iPods and other devices, Apple is also providing additional functionality. The microscopic holes described in the patent application would be virtually invisible to the naked eye. Apple claims that they “may be invisible to a user’s naked eye.” In fact, Apple uses the term “invisible hole.”
Apple’s patent Figure 1 is a top, front, right perspective view of a Unibody iPod Classic or next generation iPod. Figure 5 is a top elevational view of a future iteration scroll wheel that illustrates microscopic holes supporting backlighting effects such as shown here in the form of arrows and the illuminated word “menu.”
Note: This article includes some content of a similar story on macnn.com.
The illuminated holes could also be used to represent Apple’s logo and/or any logo, icon, number, letter, figure, symbol and words representing functions such as pause, play, stop, fast forward, reverse and so on.
A microphone is shown above in Figure 1 as patent point 650. Some of these holes will be considered invisible holes. Patent point 650 also covers audio speakers, according to the patent. This may indicate the better sound from iPods and iPhones are coming in the future...now wouldn't that be grand!
The patent also describes ambient light sensing - (termed ”ALS”) - which is designed to control the brightness of LED-back-lit LCD displays.
Additionally, the patent likewise briefly covers infra-red light (”IR”) – which is associated with an antenna, proximity detector, motion detector and other suitable I/O. Infrared is probably the most common way for remote controls to command appliances. This may open the door for adding more functionality to Apple’s Remote app.
Last edited by Kaatje; 06-05-2009 at 10:31 AM.