Apple planning its own iPad stand/case?

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Apple planning its own iPad stand/case?


Think there aren't enough iPad stands and cases on the market? Well, Apple may be planning its own as a new patent (number 20110025176) for a multiple position stand has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

A support mechanism for supporting an object on a surface is disclosed. The support mechanism includes a joint connected to the object; and a stand connected to the joint. The joint may selectively rotate to allow the stand to support the object on the surface in: a first position comprising a landscape orientation at a first angle between the object and the surface, a second position comprising a landscape orientation at a second angle between the object and the surface, a third position comprising a portrait orientation at a third angle between the object and the surface, and a fourth position comprising a portrait orientation at a fourth angle between the object and the surface. The inventors are Stephen McClure and Joshua Banko.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Various mechanisms have been used for supporting an object. Many objects are provided with a support mechanism that only allows the object to be supported in a single configuration. For objects having a display, the need for a support mechanism adapted to support the object in multiple configurations may be significant. As the market for consumer electronic devices continues to explode, consumers are seeking electronic devices, such as, for example, computers, for which they can have improved display orientations that meet their needs.

"Support mechanisms may also be used to generate consumer interest in the product and the brand of the company who produces the product. For example, consumers of some electronic devices tend to be discriminating and savvy, and may choose a product having unique and sleek support mechanisms befitting the underlying technology of the product itself. Accordingly, there is a continuing need for support mechanisms for objects that allow for improved support configurations or that may provide a pleasing aesthetic appearance.

"In an embodiment, the invention relates to a support mechanism for supporting an object on a surface. The support mechanism includes a joint connectable to the object; and a stand connectable to the joint. The joint may selectively rotate to allow the stand to support the object on the surface in: a first position comprising a landscape orientation at a first angle between the object and the surface, a second position comprising a landscape orientation at a second angle between the object and the surface, a third position comprising a portrait orientation at a third angle between the object and the surface, and a fourth position comprising a portrait orientation at a fourth angle between the object and the surface. The joint may comprise a socket connected to the object, a ball, and a linking member connected to the ball.

"In another embodiment, the invention relates to a support unit for supporting an object on a surface. The support unit includes a housing connectable to the object; a joint disposed at least partially within the housing; and a stand operatively connected to the joint for supporting the object on a surface. The support unit may include a linking member connecting the joint to the housing. The stand is adapted to support the object in a portrait support orientation at a first support angle greater than about 45 degrees between the object, a portrait support orientation at a second support angle less than about 45 degrees between the object and the surface, a landscape support orientation at a third support angle greater than about 45 degrees between the object and the surface, and a landscape support orientation at a fourth support angle less than about 45 degrees between the object and the surface.

"In another embodiment, the invention relates to a display apparatus. The display apparatus includes a device having a visual display and a housing; a cam track formed in the device housing; a joint operatively connected to the cam track; and a stand connected to the joint for supporting the device, wherein the joint rotates the stand between a first support orientation at a first viewing angle of the visual display and in a second support orientation at a second viewing angle of the visual display. In one embodiment, the first viewing angle is different from the second viewing angle. In one embodiment, the first support orientation is the same as the second support orientation.

"In a further embodiment, the invention relates to a computer having a housing and a visual display with a variable viewing angle defined by the position of the display and a vertical plane. The computer comprises: a socket operatively connected to the computer; a ball operatively connected to the socket; and a stand connected to the ball for supporting the computer on a surface, wherein the ball and socket rotate the stand between a landscape orientation at a first viewing angle, a landscape orientation at a second viewing angle, a portrait orientation at a third viewing angle, and a portrait orientation at a fourth viewing angle."

-- Dennis Sellers
dsellers@applecentral.com

 
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