Apple working on removable device clip with tactile controls

By , Jan 17, 2013

removable clip patent

It’s kind of funny that Apple gets a bad wrap for not being innovative enough, because its IP filings tell a different story. The company was awarded more than 1,200 patents last year — which was enough to beat Google, who dabbles in self-driven cars and computer glasses.

The latest testament to Apple’s innovation is a new patent application, which was just published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. It describes a removable clip for a mobile device, such as an iPod, with an integrated trackpad, that could double as a remote control…

PatentlyApple (via MacRumors) points to the filing, which despite the fact that it features what looks to be an older iPod, was just filed a little over a year ago. Product Design Manager Fletcher Rothkopf and Teodor Dabov are credited as the inventors of the clip in the doc.

“In one embodiment, an apparatus includes a body having a bend and a user interface area, a connector adapted to couple to a corresponding connector on an electronic device, and a plurality of conductive elements. The bend enables the user interface area to wrap around a portion of the electronic device when the connector is coupled to the corresponding connector on the electronic device. In another embodiment, a portable electronic system includes a removable user interface and an electronic computing device having a display surface, where the removable user interface is couplable to the electronic computing device such that the removable user interface is disposed over at least a part of the display surface.”

So imagine this clip that both attaches your mobile device to your belt or shirt pocket, and acts as a remote control for it. It could have a trackpad, or rubberized buttons, that would allow users to perform actions on their device from a distance, or without looking at it.

Interestingly enough, Apple says that the clip can be modified to apply to an iPod, iPhone, iPad, camera, game player, MacBook and — a “convertible notebook.” It’s not clear what that refers to, but, as noted by PatentlyApple, it’s one of the first times it’s used that phrasing.

Unfortunately, as with most Apple patents, we’ll likely never see this futuristic clip materialize in a consumer product. But the filing still provides an interesting glimpse at one of the things Apple has been working on in its super-top secret R&D labs over there in Cupertino.

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    ONLY ABOUT 2% OFF APPLES PATENTS ACTUALLY SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY..

    • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

      Because they test things out heavily and wait for the right time to actually integrate it when it’s ready. Some dont make it but its worth patenting ahead of time in case someone else tries to steal the idea Apple could get paid for the idea or sue like they do all the time lol. Otherwise you get products like the Zune or Surface which could have been great devices but weren’t thought through far enough.

    • http://twitter.com/Max_Kas Max Kas

      Same with every other company

    • http://twitter.com/Skrychi Chris Andes

      define light of day…

      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

        oposite of dark of night

  • http://www.geeksonhugs.com/ W. Anthony Tanas

    Filing patents with what is widely regarded to be a dysfunctional system is hardly the yardstick of innovation. That was best highlighted by the recent jaw dropping gall of Apple to file a patent on notifications of all things.

    That’s shameless and the epitome of hypocrisy. I agree Samsung has used Apple’s ideas as a crutch for their lack of creativity but no single act of Samsung is as clearly egregious as Apple attempting to get a Patent on notifications.

    I love Apple products but I don’t view them as genius inventors but rather expert artisans and designers who are uncompromising with quality and experience.

    Steve Jobs brought the future to the masses and changed the world. But he did not invent the future. The real heroes of the Information Age never garnered the wealth and adulation given to its more visible entrepreneurs. Alan Turing (universal machines – our very concept of “computer”), Doug Englebart (mice, GUIs, clipboards, cut, copy paste etc) and Tim Berners Lee (the World Wide Web)…these are innovators. Not the guys with a patent on rounded rectangles.

    • Hyr3m

      Agreed on everything except for “uncompromising with quality and experience”. They have always made their devices as cheap as possible while retaining a polished yet minimal and limited experience. Their main goal is to make lots of money on as-huge-as-possible margins; for that they need to compromise a lot.

      Does anyone know which group of people is historically and presently known for being solely money-driven regardless of any positively ethical moral values ? Trying to get control over everything (iTunes) while not playing along (mini then micro-usb) with the rest of the players… Bribing, infiltrating and cheating their way (phony patents) into wealth and ending up getting chased away from any community they strive in on average every 33 years… Up until they became holders of a monopoly on human suffering which now prevents anyone from talking against them regardless of what they’re doing to our civilization…

      • http://www.geeksonhugs.com/ W. Anthony Tanas

        I’ll agree with you that Apple is an immoral and unethical corporate citizen but I disagree about them making their devices as cheap as possible. This is what sets them apart.

        For example the aluminum unibody in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro…it’s hugely wasteful of raw materials (if you are making smaller parts you can make a lot more of them out of a given amount of solid aluminum bars). Most businesses would scoff at such an idea as it’s wasteful and inefficient. The result for consumers however is great physical design visually and tactilely.

        I prefer Android over iOS but I am very dissapointed that none of the manufacturers have figured out this “secret”. I’m into my devices and sadly the top of the line Android device when I got my phone (Galaxy Nexus) was plastic. The Nex4 seems a bit better however.

        Motorola makes the best physical Android phones and ASUS makes the best physical tablets and Windows ultra books (they use aluminum

      • Hyr3m

        When I said “cheap” I meant inexpensive. The unibody sleek aluminium design sums up about everything apple has ever done right. Aluminium is very inexpensive and it is everywhere, from the bread you eat to the toothpaste you brush your teeth with… So that’s relatively cheap, not as much as plastic but here’s the problem : they make a nice and slightly more expensive box but they put very cheap components inside because their worthless OS is so lightweight… I’d rather have a plastic Ferrari than a solid metal soapbox derby car.