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
96 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
96 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
96 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
96 months ago
Ooh, looks like it'll support my Newton!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tankmaze Avatar
96 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
96 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

iphone12protriplelenscamera

Apple's Orders for Key iPhone 13 Camera Component Expected to Outstrip Entire Android Market

Wednesday June 9, 2021 12:47 am PDT by
Major camera upgrades coming to the iPhone 13 series are putting increased pressure on suppliers to meet Apple's demand for key lens components, according to a new DigiTimes report. Apple has reportedly put Taiwan-based makers of voice coil motor (VCM) components on notice to increase their capacity by 30-40% in order to meet the company's demand, which is expected to outstrip the entire...
live text macos monterey

Several macOS Monterey Features Unavailable on Intel-Based Macs

Wednesday June 9, 2021 8:23 am PDT by
While there are many great new features in macOS Monterey, several of them are not available on Intel-based Macs, according to Apple. On the macOS Monterey features page, fine print indicates that the following features require a Mac with the M1 chip, including any MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac model released since November 2020:Portrait Mode blurred backgrounds in...
m1x mbp tags feature

Apple Lists 'M1X MacBook Pro' in YouTube Tags for WWDC Keynote Video

Wednesday June 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
Before WWDC, rumors largely driven by leaker Jon Prosser suggested that Apple would announce redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros during the conference. Those rumors, however, did not come to fruition. Interestingly, though, Apple lists "m1x MacBook Pro" as a tag for the WWDC keynote uploaded on YouTube. The tag, first spotted by Apple YouTuber Max Balzer on Twitter, is among other...
macos monterey setup assistant

macOS Monterey Allows You to Erase a Mac Without Needing to Reinstall the Operating System

Wednesday June 9, 2021 4:41 pm PDT by
It's been a few days since Apple announced macOS Monterey, and we continue to dig through new features that weren't mentioned during the WWDC keynote, including a much more convenient way of erasing a Mac. Following in the footsteps of the iPhone and iPad, the Mac has gained an "Erase All Content and Settings" option on macOS Monterey. The option allows you to erase all user data and...
apple repair service expansion iphone repair 07072020 big

Apple Agrees to Multimillion-Dollar Settlement After iPhone Repair Technicians Post Customer's Private Photos Online

Monday June 7, 2021 2:44 am PDT by
Apple has paid a 21-year-old millions of dollars in a legal settlement after photos and videos from the customer's iPhone, sent in for repair, were uploaded to Facebook, leading to "severe emotional distress," according to a new report from The Telegraph. The incident occurred in 2016 at a repair facility run by Apple supplier Pegatron in California. The 21-year-old college student sent her...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

New MacBook Pro Shipments Forecasted to Begin in Third Quarter

Tuesday June 8, 2021 8:28 am PDT by
While leaker Jon Prosser claimed that a new MacBook Pro was coming at WWDC, Apple's keynote did not include any new hardware announcements. Instead, it is looking increasingly likely that redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models powered by a faster iteration of the M1 chip will be released in the third or fourth quarter of the year. A paywalled preview of a DigiTimes report today...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With iOS 15: See Apple's New Operating System Update in Action

Tuesday June 8, 2021 3:28 pm PDT by
Apple yesterday unveiled iOS 15, the newest version of the iOS operating system that runs on the iPhone (and the iPad with iPadOS 15). iOS 15 is a significant update that introduces many important new features, and we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a first look at the new software. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Not everything that was announced yesterday is...
imac macbook pro macos monterey

Newer Macs Can Use Another Mac as an External Display on macOS Monterey

Wednesday June 9, 2021 2:10 pm PDT by
One of the key new features of macOS Monterey is the ability to AirPlay content to a Mac from other Apple devices, such as an iPhone, iPad, or another Mac. According to the macOS Monterey features page, AirPlay to Mac works works both wirelessly or wired using a USB cable, with Apple noting that a wired connection is useful when you want to ensure that there's no latency or don't have access to a ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky iOS App, Website, and API Now Scheduled to Remain Available Until End of 2022

Thursday June 10, 2021 7:34 am PDT by
Last year, Apple acquired the weather app Dark Sky, and shortly after its purchase, Apple shut down the app for Android. Despite the revamped iOS 15 Weather app taking heavy inspiration from Dark Sky, the weather's app standalone iOS app, web app, and API will remain available until the end of next year, compared to the end of this year, as previously planned. Dark Sky announced in an update ...
photos app remove from featured

iOS 15 Finally Lets You Block Your Exes From Ruining Your Photo Memories

Wednesday June 9, 2021 12:37 pm PDT by
With iOS 15, Apple is introducing more granular control over the people and places that show up in your Photos Memories, letting you fine tune just who makes random appearances in the Photos app and the Photos widget. In iOS 14, the option on the right was available, but in iOS 15, the person-specific option is new You've already been able to select "Suggest Fewer Memories Like This" when...