updated 05:05 pm EDT, Tue May 10, 2011
Likely abandoned design concept
Among a host of Apple patent wins today is an unusual design concept for the iPad, notes Patently Apple. Diagrams depict what is essentially a 3G iPad 1, but with the key difference of a USB port along one edge, situated near the SIM slot. Why Apple would abandon the concept is unknown, as it would have allowed for landscape docking or connecting multiple peripherals. The patent was originally submitted in Q1 2010 -- around the time of the tablet's announcement -- and credits Apple CEO Steve Jobs and lead designer Jonathan Ive among many others.
In all 16 new patents have been granted. Aside from the iPad patent, other notable wins cover iDVD, the virtual keyboard in iOS, the iOS implementation of Cover Flow, and abandoned "web clip widgets" for the iPhone. Some more minor ones address charging peripheral batteries, media compression and recording, and virtualizing graphics resources.
A "self-identifying" microphone proposed by Apple would be able to communicate some of its properties when connected via USB or FireWire. It might for instance be able to share make and serial number, and more useful data such as frequency/dynamic response, desired pre-amp gain, and whether or not the mic uses phantom power.