Apple Tech Watch: OLED Displays, MagSafe Power-Data Connector, Live Device Configuration

A number of reports today are highlighting possible technical improvements for future Apple products, and while much of the information is based on patent applications that may or may not ever see the light of day, it does provide an interesting glimpse into some of Apple's areas of research.

First, 9 to 5 Mac reports on a recent job posting from Apple looking for a host of new engineers focused on display technologies including LCD and/or OLED. OLED technology for Apple's displays has been a popular source of rumors dating back many years, but various technological hurdles have slowed their adoption throughout the industry. But increasing numbers of smartphones are utilizing OLED technology, increasingly the likelihood that Apple is devoting at least some effort to the technology on a test basis to evaluate it against other options.

The job postings come just after a report from Patently Apple summarized a set of OLED-related patent applications filed by Apple over the past several years and published in recent months, indicating that the company is indeed thinking about how the technology could be used in future devices.

122356 magsafe power data
Apple's MagSafe power-data connector

A second report today from AppleInsider looks at a newly-published patent application from Apple describing a MagSafe interface capable of providing both power and data connectivity to a device.

Thus, what is needed are circuits, apparatus, and methods that provide a power and data transfer system that can supply both power and data to a laptop or other mobile computing device using a single connection. To reduce the clutter caused by multiple cables, it is further desirable to have a power and data adapter that can provide power and data to the mobile computing device using a single cable. It is also desirable to have a connector system that can connect this single cable to the mobile computing device. To avoid the consequence of laptops being pulled to the ground when a cable is tripped over, it is desirable that the connector system easily disengages when the cable is pulled away from the mobile computing device.

Apple's proposed solution looks very much like the existing MagSafe power connector used on its notebook computers, but with some of its contact pins devoted to data transmission such as fiber optic lines, USB, DisplayPort, or other standards.

122355 live configurable macbook 500

Finally, Patently Apple reports on a patent application describing the use of a device's housing as an input/output device, expanding on earlier patents addressing touch-sensitive bezels.

Apple's latest implementation, which could extend to computers, portable devices, and other equipment, extends use of the housing as an input/output device to also allow the device itself to reconfigure itself on a live basis. The reconfiguration would be accomplished by sensing via proximity sensors, RFID/NFC or other means such as events as the approach of a user or peripherals such as USB connectors, allowing the device to light up icons within the housing to offer the user relevant options for input via the housing or direct the user to the necessary external port required for the connector being used.

Further implementations include an entire virtual surface that could display a keyboard or other input methods and allow the user to easily configure operation, such as by moving a virtual number pad or volume controls to a preferred location.

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Predicted to Start With Increased 256GB Storage Alongside Rumored Price Increase

Wednesday August 10, 2022 11:14 am PDT by
Earlier today, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed iPhone 14 Pro models will be more expensive than iPhone 13 Pro models. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing, but he said that the average selling price of all four iPhone 14 models will increase by about 15% overall. While higher prices would be disappointing for customers, it is possible the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will offer increased...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
battery percentage ios 16

Here's Why the iPhone Battery Status Icon in iOS 16 Is So Controversial

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:34 am PDT by
In the latest iOS 16 beta, Apple has updated the status bar battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the exact percentage remaining rather than just a visual representation of battery level, and while the change has been largely welcomed, some users are unhappy with the way it has been implemented. In iOS 15 and earlier, battery percent has not been present on iPhones that have...
Apple Watch Body Temperature Finished

'High-Accuracy' Apple Watch Temperature Sensor Revealed by Patent Filing Just Weeks Before Series 8 Unveiling

Wednesday August 10, 2022 5:39 am PDT by
Apple has been granted a patent for a temperature sensor suitable for the Apple Watch, just weeks before the company is expected to unveil the Apple Watch Series 8 with body temperature sensing capabilities. The newly granted patent, spotted by MyHealthyApple, was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is titled "Temperature gradient sensing in electronic devices."...