Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent related to electronic accessories and covers for computing devices. More particularly, the present invention relates to a novel modular expansion hub and related system for attaching accessories to a computing device or for mounting the computing device on a stand. Four of Apple’s patent claims show that the modular system applies to an iPad. The expandable system could transform an iPad into a mini desktop for consumer, retail, hospital and other applications.
In Apple’s patent history, they note that while computing devices can be very effective on their own, it’s also common to use a case or cover on your computing device to protect it from bumps, drops, scratches, scratches, and other damage. The presence of a cover can make mounting and securing a computing device or charger complex, unreliable, time consuming, or challenging. These covers also similarly inhibit the use of electronic accessories that are connected to the computing device due to interference from the cover or an unwanted connection to the computing device. There is a constant need for improvements in portable computing devices, enclosures, and related parts of these systems.
Modular electronic device system
The patent granted by Apple relates to modular electronic device systems that can enable a more fluid and intuitive interface, seamless, durable, and adaptable between a portable computing device and a cover, stand, expansion device hub, and accessories that are attached to it. They can be mounted on the computing device or on the lid.
In an exemplary embodiment, the modular electronic device system may include an electronic device casing or cover, wherein the casing includes an electrical connector for making electrical contact with the electronic device, an electrical connector facing rearward from the casing (i.e., looking in a direction perpendicular to the rear surface of the case or perpendicular to the rear surface of the electronic device), and engaging portions on the case for attaching the case to a support base arm or accessory device .
The support base is releasably connectable to the engaging portion of the housing and may provide an electrical connection to a power source, such as a power source used to charge the electronic device through embedded or retained electrical connectors. by the casing. An accessory device may include a latch portion that is releasably connectable to a latch portion of the case and may be electronically connected to an electrical connector on the case.
In some embodiments, the electronic device may be protected by a casing and at the same time be easily attached to and detached from the support base and accessory device without having to remove the electronic device from the casing and without having to connect and disconnect sensitive plugs in one side or end. part of electronic device. In this way, with an electrical connector in the box and facing rearward, the box can be mounted to the support base with the hook portion of the arm facing the electrical connector facing rearward in the box. This orientation allows a user to make a pushing motion to attach the housing to the support base arm for ease of mounting. In other words, the user can hold the electronic device with the front of the user interface facing the user’s face and, while in that orientation, can move the electronic device rearward to engage the arm mount without having to do it. look behind the electronic device or box. In addition, the hooking portion of the case base can hold the case in the center of the back of the case, so that the case and any electronic devices inside are balanced when held by the arm. /support.
Accessory devices can be modularly attached and disconnected from the enclosure and simultaneously attached and disconnected from electrical communication with electrical connectors that extend through the enclosure so that power and information can be exchanged between the accessory device and the electronic device placed in the casing.
Accessory devices may include devices such as credit card readers, light sensors, antennas, laser scanners, oxygen sensors, air sensors, printers, keyboards, barcode scanners, magnetic stripe readers, related devices, and combinations thereof.
Another aspect of the patent relates to an expansion hub for portable electronic devices., wherein the expansion hub includes a case with a rear side, a first electrical connector for connecting to the electronic device, and a second electrical connector on the rear side of the case and configured to mate or mount to a third electrical connector in one direction rear relative to the house.
The second electrical connector may be in electrical communication with the first electrical connector. The hub may also include a mounting connector for blindly mating the housing to a second mounting connector positioned outside the rear side of the housing in response to movement of the housing in the rearward direction.
With the mounting connector coupled to the second mounting connector, the second electrical connector may be in electrical communication with a third electrical connector. Thus, the expansion hub can provide an electrical connection to an electronic device and an electrical connection to an external (ie, third party) electrical connector located on the rear of the hub housing. For example, the first electrical connector may plug into or otherwise connect to an electrical interface on the portable electronic device, and the second electrical connector may plug into or otherwise connect to an electrical interface on the separate device, such as a stand, accessory, or additional expansion hub.
Rearward placement of the second electrical connector may allow the expansion hub to move rearward when establishing a connection to the detached device. In this way, a person using the expansion hub can make the electrical connection to the separate device without having to look at the connector as it is mounted to the separate device.
In addition, with the expansion hub integrated into a case or cover for the portable electronic device, the user can grasp the sides of the electronic device or cover and move the electronic device in a rearward direction (i.e., along a direction that is extends perpendicular to the rear). device side or hub) to mount the electronic device and cover on the separate device.
While the electronics and shroud are moved in this manner, the expansion hub’s mounting connector can be “blind-mate” with the second mounting connector, in which the parts are mechanically interlocked, magnetically attached, or secured or otherwise block on the separate device and the expansion device. to mate with each other, interlock with each other, or provide an attractive force to each other while the user is positioned at the front of the device and the connectors at the rear are not visible to the user (i.e., the user is visually “blind” ” to their mating).
In some configurations, the expansion hub may have a mounting connector that mates with the second mounting connector using a polarized latch system, and the second electrical connector may meet the third electrical connector using an interface that includes at least one pin. polarized (for example, a pogo pin) or other polarized or electrically conductive member. The skewed latch system may have a feature that prevents the electronic device and cover from accidentally falling out of the mount when the latch is initially unlocked.
Modular systems such as those described can take a wide range of different configurations depending on which modules are connected to the system at any given time. For example, the system may include an electronic device, an enclosure, an accessory hub or device adapter, a mount, and one or more accessory devices.
In another example, the system may include the electronic device, a case, and the holder. In another example, the system may include an electronic device, a housing, and the accessory hub.
The one or more accessories can be added as a complement to other components to provide different types of expansion through new sensors, batteries, storage devices and other useful components. The electronic device and case can be used while mounted to the holder directly or while the device adapter is positioned between the case and holder, and in either situation, power or data can be exchanged between the electronic device, holder and /oo or accessories attached to the case, electronic device, or device adapter. Therefore, the modular system can be used while mounted on a support or while disconnected and detached from the support.
Apple patent FIG. 1 below shows an exploded perspective view of a modular electronic device system; FIG. 6 shows a block diagram of electronic components of the modular electronic device system of fig. 1.
According to Apple, accessory devices can be modularly connected and disconnected from the case and simultaneously connected to and disconnected from electrical communication with electrical connectors that extend through the case so that power and information can be exchanged between the accessory device and the electronic device placed in the casing. case. Accessory devices may include devices such as credit card readers, light sensors, antennas, laser scanners, oxygen sensors, air sensors, printers, related devices, and combinations thereof.
At one point in the patent, Apple interestingly notes that in some embodiments, cover #102 may include a waterproof, caustic chemical, or antibacterial material to provide additional durability and protection for electronic device #104 and its users. In some cases, the cover may include a material that is easy to clean. youThese features can be especially beneficial in hospitals and other dirty and healthcare-related environments.
For more details, please review Apple Granted US Patent 11543856 B1.
- Mohammadali Parsian: Mr. Lead Product Designer.
- Gerson Goldberg: Accessories – Mechanical Engineering Manager
- Nicolás Huynh: hardware engineer