Apple receives patent for Smart Cover wireless charging system

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Date: Thursday, March 14th, 2013, 07:25
Category: Hardware, iPad, News, Patents

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It’s sort of a weird patent application, but apparently it’s been pushed through.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple on Thursday published an Apple patent application that details a system of inductively charging an iPad through the Smart Cover. The idea is that rather than plugging in the iPad, the Smart Cover would include an inductive power transmitter that would allow it to pair with an inductive power transceiver embedded into the iPad. The result is the Smart Cover would become a wireless charging station, connecting to an external power source, and allowing you to power your iPad in various positions. Apple also explained that it could use “ambient power gathering devices, such as solar cells, can be used to gather ambient power (such as sunlight) to be stored internally in the flap for later inductive transfer.”

A method for wireless powering a tablet device, comprising: determining if a protective cover is in a closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; enabling a wireless power receiver circuit in the tablet device when it is determined that the protective cover is in the closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; and wirelessly receiving power from a wireless power transmitter associated with the protective cover.

Apple described the advanced Smart Cover as including multiple power transmitters to allow the iPad to charge even when using the case, for example, as a stand to prop up the device. Alternatively, the cover could continue charging the device when in the closed position or when an iPad is placed on top:

The method as recited in claim 10, the method further comprising: determining that the tablet device is positioned relative to a flat surface at a viewing angle; and enabling a second wireless power receiver circuit only when it is determined that the tablet device is in the portable mode and is positioned relative to the flat surface at the viewing angle and the tablet device is configured to present video by the display. An apparatus for wireless powering a tablet device, comprising: means for determining if a protective cover is in a closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; means for enabling a wireless power receiver circuit in the tablet device when it is determined that the protective cover is in the closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; and means for wirelessly receiving power from a wireless power transmitter associated with the protective cover.

13. The apparatus as recited in claim 12, the tablet device further comprising; a battery; a display; and a sensor arranged to detect an external stimulus only when the protective cover is in the closed configuration with respect to the display.

The system described in the patent would be similar to wireless charging systems already available on the market, something that Apple’s Phil Schiller recently described as “more complicated” than Apple’s current solution:

As for wireless charging, Schiller notes that the wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into the wall, so it’s not clear how much convenience they add. The widely-adopted USB cord, meanwhile, can charge in wall outlets, computers and even on airplanes, he said. “Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated,” Schiller said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple now offering built-in VESA mounts for iMacs through its online store

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Date: Thursday, March 14th, 2013, 07:58
Category: Hardware, News

This could come in handy.

Per AppleInsider and German web blog iFun, Apple recently updated its online store to reflect availability of a new VESA mount-compatible iMac, with the tweaked version of the thin all-in-one costing in at US$40 more than standard models.


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The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) compatibility is likely to be a welcome addition for users who are already invested in the mounting standard.

When Apple first announced the redesigned iMac in October, it was discovered that, unlike previous models, the new machines could not be used with standard VESA mounts. In response to feedback from users disappointed in the change, Apple said it was taking the idea of adding the capability into consideration, but offered no concrete details as to when a solution would be made available.

From Apple’s description of the new VESA-compatible iMac models:
“The iMac with Built-in VESA Mount Adapter is ready to pair with your favorite VESA-compatible wall mount, desk mount, or articulating arm (sold separately). This iMac doesn’t include a stand, so a mount is required. If you don’t already have a mount, you can purchase one when you configure your iMac.”

The VESA models are not highly advertised on Apple’s Online Store, and are nowhere to be seen on the main product page, though a link at the bottom of the iMac configuration tool will take customers to a webpage dedicated to the new versions.

Apple is charging a US$40 premium for the ability to use VESA mounts with the iMac. The special configuration is on sale now with shipping estimates starting at 7 to 10 days.

If you’ve tried the new, thin iMac with a VESA mount and have any feedback to offer about the experience, please let us know in the comments.

Skype updated to 6.3.0.582

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Date: Thursday, March 14th, 2013, 07:32
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, version 6.3.0.582 of the Skype VoIP application was released. The new version, a 37.5 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- See a slideshow of other participants in a group call when you are the current speaker.

- New In-Call DTMF dial pad.

Skype 6.3.0.582 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.