Apple patents range from parental control to electronic circuits
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Apple patents range from parental control to electronic circuits

Nine Apple patents have appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Here's a summary of each.

Patent number 7,689,920 is for a parental control graphical user interface. Improved graphical user interfaces suitable for restricting the availability of media items and/or podcasts are also disclosed. The graphical user interfaces are particularly useful for a system that provides purchase and distribution of media in a client-server environment. The inventors are Jeffrey L. Robbin, David Heller and Jeff Miller.

Patent number 7,688,316 is for an adaptive method for acquiring color measurements. It's for a system and method for measuring a color parameter values of a display for calibration purposes. An initial measurement of the color parameter value from the display is performed. Next, a number of additional measurements is determined in response to the value of the initial color parameter value. The color parameter value of the display is measured by the number of additional measurements in order to determine an average color parameter value of the display which will be used for calibration purposes. The inventor is Gabriel Marcu.

Patent number 7,689,914 involves "sticky functionality." Per the patent, manipulation of elements in a graphical user interface is aided by allowing the graphical user interface to treat certain mouse button actuation and releases as holding the mouse button in an actuated state. When predetermined conditions are satisfied, the graphical user interface will treat a mouse button actuation and release as if the mouse button were held in an actuated state. A user can then manipulate elements in the graphical user interface as if the user held the mouse button in an actuated state. The types of manipulation can include the moving of a window, the resizing of a window, moving an icon, and the scrolling through the visible portion of a window. The inventor is Eric Schlegel.

Patent number 7,688,267 is for a broadband antenna with a coupled feed for handheld electronic devices. Broadband antennas and handheld electronic devices with broadband antennas are provided. A handheld electronic device may have a housing in which electrical components such as integrated circuits and a broadband antenna are mounted. The broadband antenna may have a ground element and a resonating element. The resonating element may have two arms of unequal length and may have a self-resonant element. The antenna may have a feed terminal connected to the self-resonant element and a ground terminal connected to the ground element. The self-resonant element may be near-field coupled to one of the arms of the resonating element. With one suitable arrangement, the self-resonant element may be formed using a conductive rectangular element that is not electrically shorted to the ground element or the arms of the resonating element. The antenna may operate over first and second frequency ranges of interest. The inventor is Robert J. Hill.

Patent number 7,688,734 is for a dome switch with integral actuator. Advantageously, the actuator can be formed so as to be positioned over and properly aligned with the dome. In one embodiment, the dome switch structure is used by an electronic device to provide user input. When the actuator is pressed by a user, the actuator depresses the dome and induces a switching action. In one embodiment, the dome switch structures can be manufactured (i.e., machined) as a unitary structure. Consequently, since actuators and domes can be formed together, the dome switch structures yield not only consistent accurate alignment but also simplified assembly of dome switches. Given the accurate alignment of an actuator to a corresponding dome, dome switches formed from the dome switch structures can have consistent and reliable tactile feel to users, which thereby provides reliable usage by users. The inventor is Douglas Weber.

Patent number 7,688,328 involves luminance point correction without luminance degradation. Per the patent, white point is corrected without degrading luminance on a display device. A white point manager modifies the balance between red, green and blue according to a target white point up to a threshold gray value. As the gray scale approaches white from the threshold gray value, the white point manager blends the balance between red, green and blue from the target white point substantially towards the native white point for the display device, so as not to degrade luminance as the gray scale approaches white. The inventors are Kok Chen and Gabriel G. Marcu.

Patent number 7,688,046 is for power converters having varied switching frequencies. Systems and techniques for performing power conversion operations in a portable device are used to convert an input voltage to a voltage at an output. The conversion operations use a two-stage conversion to convert the input voltage to a first voltage and to convert the first voltage to a second voltage. A switching frequency is altered with changes in the input voltage. The switching frequency is selected based on the input voltage level and/or to maintain a substantially consistent ripple at the output, which can correspond to the first voltage and/or the second voltage. The inventors are Li Li and Ronil D. Patel.

Patent number 7,689,846 involves a method and apparatus for increasing the operating frequency of an electronic circuit. One embodiment of the present invention provides a system that facilitates temporarily increasing the operating frequency of an electronic circuit, such as a computer system, beyond a maximum sustainable operating frequency. Upon receiving a request to operate at a higher frequency, the system determines the thermal energy level of a cooling system for the circuit. If the thermal energy level is below a threshold level for the thermal capacity of the cooling system, the system increases the operating frequency of the circuit to a frequency that is greater than the maximum sustainable operating frequency for a period of limited duration. This period of limited duration is short enough to ensure that a temperature increase, caused by increasing the operating frequency, does not raise the operating temperature of the circuit above a maximum operating temperature. The inventor is William C. Athas.

Apple has also been awarded patents a patent (D612,863) for the trashcan icon of Mac OS X. The inventors are Imran A. Chaudhri, Cesar, Carrera and Patricia J. Coleman.


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