Apple patents range from color labeling to a smart dock
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Apple patents range from color labeling to a smart dock

Apple has been granted several patents by the US Patent & Trademark Office. Following is a summary of each.

Patent number 7,873,916 involves color labeling in a graphical user interface. A method for providing visual cues to a user of a graphical user interface (GUI) for a computer system is disclosed. The visual cues indicate a relationship with an icon having text and/or image elements. In some embodiments, the method receives a color for labeling an icon that has a text-element and an image-element. The method applies the color to a background-region of the text-element of the icon without applying the color to the image-element. In some embodiments, the method does not affect the font of the text. In some embodiments, the method receives a selection of an icon. The icon has a background-region that has a first color. The method changes the first color of the background-region to a second color but retains the first color in a section of the background-region. In some of these embodiments, the method outlines the section of the background-region with a third color. Imran Chaudhri is the inventor.

Patent number 7,871,720 is for a battery assembly for use in an electronic device. The battery assembly may include a battery cell (e.g., a rechargeable battery cell), a battery connector for providing power from the battery cell to the electronic device, and a flex circuit electrically coupling the battery cell to the electronic device. The battery connector may be located adjacent the battery cell, and may include one or more alignment mechanisms for ensuring that conductive pads of the battery connector align properly with corresponding conductive elements of the electronic device. The battery cell may be fixed to the electronic device using an adhesive layer (e.g., double sided tape) placed between the cell and the electronic device. A tab may extend beyond the periphery of the battery cell to allow a user to pull or peal the battery cell from the electronic device for replacement or repair. In some embodiments, a tool may be used to grasp the tab. The inventors are Scott Myers, Erik Wang, Trent Weber and Jason Sloey.

Patent number 7,873,910 involves a configuration bar for launching a layer for accessing user interface elements. A user-activatable dashboard (also referred to as a unified interest layer) contains any number of user interface elements, referred to herein as "widgets," for quick access by a user. In response to a command from a user, the dashboard is invoked and the widgets are shown on the screen. The user can activate the dashboard at any time, causing the dashboard to temporarily replace the existing user interface display on the user's screen. Once the dashboard has been activated, the user can interact with any or all of the widgets, and can configure the dashboard by adding, deleting, moving, or configuring individual widgets as desired. When the user wishes to return to the normal user interface he or she was working with, the user issues a command causing the dashboard to be dismissed. Once the dashboard has been dismissed, the previous user interface state is restored, allowing the user to resume normal interactions with the operating system. The inventors are Imran A. Chaudhri, John Louch, Andrew M. Grignon and Gregory N. Christie.

Patent number 7,873,912 involves a process and system for providing a reduced set of fields associated with a report layout. The invention provides methods and apparatus for presenting fields associated with a report format suitable for displaying data associated with a plurality of fields, the plurality of fields being associated with one or more records. A layout is obtained, the layout being a report format including the plurality of fields. A user selection is received. A first list of fields that are pertinent to the layout (e.g., including the plurality of fields) is presented when the user selection is in a first state. For instance, the first list of fields may include only the fields that are in the layout (e.g., visible to the user). When the user selection is in a second state, a user is presented or provided access to a second list of fields, where the second list of fields includes fields that are not in the layout. The second list of fields may also include the fields that are pertinent to the layout (e.g., those fields in the layout). The inventors are Christopher L. Crim, Stephen Iremonger, John Welshofer and Kenneth D. Walter Jr.

Patent number 7,873,917 is for locking relationships among parameters in computer programs. Some embodiments provide a method for locking in a mathematical relationship between a set of at least two parameters in a computer program. The method selects a first parameter. The method defines a mathematical relationship that ties the value of the first parameter to the value of a second parameter. In some embodiments, the mathematical relationship can be a mathematical function, a Boolean function, or a lookup table. The relationship could be directly entered by the user, or the computer program itself could derive it from the user's actions. In some embodiments, the first parameter can be locked to the mathematical relationship. The lock prevents the value of that parameter from being changed, except by changing the value of the second parameter. Some embodiments implement this method by using a GUI with an intuitive set of controls. The inventors are Eric Larsen, Ron Brinkmann and Dan Candela.

Patent number 7,873,630 involves systems and methods for managing data. In one exemplary method, a notification that an existing file has been modified or that a new file has been created is received by an indexing software component, which then, in response to the notification performs an indexing operation, where the notification is either not based solely on time or user input or the notification includes an identifier that identifies the file. Other methods in data processing systems and machine readable media are also described. The inventors are Yan Arrouye, Dominic Giampaolo, Andrew Carol and Steve Zellers.

Patent number 7,873,763 is for a digital phase relationship lock loop. In one embodiment, an apparatus comprises a first clocked storage device operable in a first clock domain corresponding to a first clock signal. The first clocked storage device has an input coupled to receive one or more bits transmitted on the input from a second clock domain corresponding to a second clock signal. The apparatus further comprises control circuitry configured to ensure that a change in a value of the one or more bits transmitted on the input meets setup and hold time requirements of the first clocked storage device. The control circuitry is responsive to a sample history of one of the first clock signal or the second clock signal to detect a phase relationship between the first clock signal and the second clock signal on each clock cycle to ensure the change meets the setup and hold time requirements. The inventors are James Wang, Zongiian Chen and James B. Keller.

Patent number 7,873,784 involves a method and apparatus for evaluating and improving disk access time in a RAID system. Techniques for improving access time in data storage systems are disclosed. These techniques can be used to prevent undesirable access delays that are often experienced in conventional storage systems. 'Slow-access' can be defined as an access operation that does not successfully complete within a predetermined amount of time. The 'slow-access' time can, for example, be defined based on a system requirement, specification, or a particular need of a specific application. As such, when detected 'slow-access' indicates a potential performance problem that can manifest in undesirable effects. A data storage system is evaluated for potential performance problems by scanning it for 'slow-access.' In addition, preventative measures are taken to prevent occurrence of a 'slow-access' once it has been identified. These measures can prevent the undesirable effects experienced in conventional storage systems. This also means that specific system or application requirements can be certified and met. The inventors are Michael Eng and David Wong.

Patent number 7,873,771 is for a smart dock for chaining accessories. It involves the universal dock with works with the Apple Remote. The patent involves a system for communicating between an accessory and an electronic device includes a first interface, a second interface, and a docking station. The first interface is configured to communicate with the electronic device. The second interface is configured to communicate with the accessory. The docking station is coupled to the first interface and the second interface. The docking station is configured to receive a set of preferences from the accessory and forward the set of preferences to the electronic device. The inventors are Scott Krueger and Jesse L. Dorogusker.

Also, Apple has been granted a design patent involving the iPhone (patent number D630630).

-- Dennis Sellers


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