Apple wants to facilitate hot unpluggable devices
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Apple wants to facilitate hot unpluggable devices

Apple wants to make it easier to disconnect devices from your Mac, according to a new patent (number 7,698,472) at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

It's for a hot unpluggable media storage device. Improved techniques for rendering a peripheral device removable (e.g., unpluggable) are disclosed. According to one aspect of the invention, the peripheral device is rendered removable from a host computer without preparatory user actions. In effect, the peripheral device can be automatically prepared for removal in the event that its user removes (unplugs) it from its host computer. According to another aspect of the invention, the peripheral device includes a data storage device that is mounted to a file system of the other computer when the other computer desires access to the data storage device. Otherwise, the data storage device is normally unmounted so that if the peripheral device were to be removed (e.g., unplugged) no harm or damage to data stored therein would occur.

These aspects of the invention can be utilized alone or in combination with one another. The invention is particularly well suited for peripheral devices that are media players which are "hot" unpluggable without detrimental consequences. The inventors are Jeffrey L. Robbin, David Heller and Craig A. Marciniak.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "Broadly speaking, the invention relates to improved techniques for rendering a peripheral device removable (e.g., unpluggable). According to one aspect of the invention, the peripheral device is rendered removable from a host computer without preparatory user actions. In effect, the peripheral device can be automatically prepared for removal in the event that its user removes (unplugs) it from its host computer. According to another aspect of the invention, the peripheral device includes a data storage device that is mounted to a file system of the host computer when the host computer desires access to the data storage device. Otherwise, the data storage device is normally unmounted so that if the peripheral device were to be removed (e.g., unplugged) no harm or damage to data stored therein would occur. These aspects of the invention can be utilized alone or in combination with one another. The invention is particularly well suited for peripheral devices that are media players which are resulting ???hot??? unpluggable without detrimental consequences.

"The invention can be implemented in numerous ways, including as a method, system, device, and computer readable medium. Several embodiments of the invention are discussed below.

"As a computer readable medium including at least computer program code for accessing a portable electronic device by a host computer over a data link, the portable electronic device having at least storage capability for storing media data, one embodiment of the invention includes at least: computer program code for receiving, at the host computer, an indication that the portable electronic device has been attached to the host computer via the data link; computer program code for logically connecting the portable electronic device to a file system of the host computer once the indication that the portable electronic device has been attached to the host computer has been received; computer program code for performing first processing at the host computer which accesses the portable electronic device provided the portable electronic device is attached to the host computer via the data link; and computer program code for logically disconnecting the portable electronic device from the file system without detaching the portable electronic device from the host computer via the data link, the logically disconnection being performed automatically after completing performance of the first processing which accesses the portable electronic device.

"As a computer capable of accessing a portable electronic device, the portable electronic device having at least a bus for data transfer and a storage device for storing media content, one embodiment of the invention includes at least: means for detecting presence of the portable electronic device on the bus associated with the computer; means for mounting the storage device of the portable electronic device with a system of the computer; means for accessing the storage device over the bus to perform initial processing; and means for unmounting the storage device of the portable electronic device from the system of the computer once the initial processing is completed.

"As a computer capable of accessing a handheld electronic device, the handheld electronic device having at least a bus for data transfer and a data storage device for storing data, one embodiment of the invention includes at least a file system for storage of data, and a processor. The processor is configured to (i) detect presence of the handheld electronic device on the bus associated with the computer, (ii) mount the data storage device of the handheld electronic device with the file system of the computer, (iv) access the data storage device over the bus to perform initial processing; and (v) unmount the data storage device of the handheld electronic device from the file system of the computer once the initial processing is completed."

 
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