Smart Dock with Orientation-Aware Functionality, Induction Charging Detailed in Apple Patent

Apple has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider) detailing a flat smart dock that would be able to determine the orientation a device is placed in and perform actions such as induction charging, data syncing, diagnostics testing, and more.

smartdock_jan14_1
The patent, which was originally filed in 2012, details a dock that includes components such as a processor, memory, internal power supply, and multiple sensors among other components. The dock is described as being a central point in the transfer of data between a user's device and a host device such as a computer. Data itself would transfer between two devices through a wire such as a Lightning cable or through wireless networking.

In terms of identifying different orientations, the patent states that the flat dock would be able to recognize factors including the rotational position and the proximity of a device. For example, if a user leaves a device face down, the dock would perform charging, whereas leaving a device face up would allow for data syncing and charging at the same time. A device on the smart dock would provide on-screen information about the current action being performed as well.

In some embodiments, a physical orientation of a user device placed on a surface of a docking device may be determined. The physical orientation may include a translational position (e.g., Cartesian coordinates, polar coordinates), rotational position (e.g., an angle value about a suitable axis), a facing direction (e.g., face-up, face-down), any other suitable physical orientation relative to any suitable reference, or any combination thereof. For example, a physical orientation may be a position of a user device on a surface of a docking device.

smartdock_jan14_2
Support for multiple devices on the dock is described in the patent, as the dock would be able to perform actions such as data transfers and charging on devices in close proximity to each other. Transfers between a host device and a primary device placed on the charging surface are also described as a capability of the smart dock.

It is unknown whether Apple plans to create such product or not, but the company has shown strong interest in some of the technologies described in the patent. It was reported earlier this week by The New York Times that Apple was testing induction charging among other methods for its upcoming "iWatch" project. This, coupled with past rumors stating that the iWatch will serve as an accessory to iOS devices would make it a prime candidate to benefit from the functionalities of the smart dock described in the patent.

Apple also filed a patent for a separate smart dock last December, which emphasized voice recognition and single-device use through a regular multi-pin connector. The existence of either device would be of a new effort for the company, as Apple currently sells docks with limited functionality for the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. Other accessories such as the iHome family of clock-radios and speaker systems offer a bit more functionality, but very little in the context of deep interaction with a device.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

acfusion29 Avatar
100 months ago
Looks like old tech to me. Induction charging sounds great but what do you do when you are out and about/travelling and want to charge, you still need the cable and brick to do so.

It always sounded great to have induction and data transfer but this is an old patent and i highly doubt any connection to future products now. It's a different way of doing something that is done so cheaply already with very simple cables it makes no sense to reinvent the wheel.

That's why you'll still have a lightning port! Magical eh?

Where's your logic?

----------

why would I want a slate like shape and cable for inductive charging. can't take it with me when travelling too much hassle imo, not as elegant as the usb cable and charger.

Yes cause they will completely get rid of the lightning port and make you carry this thing around.

Are people getting dumber by the day?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Thunderhawks Avatar
100 months ago
No no no no.

I remember people posting here that that only recently, that induction charging was stupid and something most people here, who posted on the subject, don't want, and said how rubbish it was as a concept.

So, your conclusion is a reduction in that the introduction of induction will be the opposite of deductive reasoning?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
100 months ago
Induction charging on the Palm Pre/Pixi Touchstone power base felt ... luxurious. Perhaps partly because of the way the magnets oriented the phone on a nice slant so you could easily read the display. It also automatically switched to speakerphone mode.

My son-in-law kept bases by his bed, in his car, and at the office.

The people most against something, likely never had it.

It's like someone saying "Why do you need steering wheel controls? The radio is right there. And what if I wanted a passenger to tune it?"

You don't NEED anything. But boy oh boy once you've had it, you hate going without it. And the old method still works as well.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
100 months ago
Ooh, looks like it'll support my Newton!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tankmaze Avatar
100 months ago
why would I want a slate like shape and cable for inductive charging. can't take it with me when travelling too much hassle imo, not as elegant as the usb cable and charger.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Piggie Avatar
100 months ago
No no no no.

I remember people posting here that that only recently, that induction charging was stupid and something most people here, who posted on the subject, don't want, and said how rubbish it was as a concept.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple california streaming event

Apple Event Announced: 'California Streaming' on September 14 With iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 Expected

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with WWDC and last year's fall events, this new event will be held digitally with no members of the media invited to attend in person. Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iOS 15 icon on phone

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to Developers

Tuesday August 17, 2021 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming one week after Apple released the fifth betas. Registered developers can download the profile for the iOS and iPadOS betas from the Apple Developer Center, and once the profile is installed, beta updates will be available over the air. iOS 15 is a major update that...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
it home ecommerce app iphone 13

iPhone 13 to Launch on September 17, AirPods 3 on September 30, Claims Report

Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:42 am PDT by
Apple may be planning to launch the iPhone 13 on Friday, September 17 and third-generation AirPods on Thursday, September 30, according to an image of an e-commerce app discovered by Chinese language site IT Home. The screenshot, originally posted by Weibo account @PandaIsBald, suggests all four iPhone 13 models will go on sale on September 17, followed by the AirPods 3 on September 30....
MacBook Pro Coating

Apple Launches Quality Program for MacBook Pro Anti-Reflective Coating Issues

Saturday October 17, 2015 7:58 am PDT by
Apple has issued an internal notice about a new Quality Program that addresses anti-reflective coating issues on MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, as confirmed by multiple sources. These issues include the anti-reflective coating on displays wearing off or delaminating under certain circumstances. Apple will replace Retina displays on affected MacBook or MacBook Pro models ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...