The Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro is already pretty durable, but Apple wants to make it even more appealing. The company has been granted a patent (number 9,527,263) for a “stain proof textured fabric.”
The stain resistant layer can be formed from a non-conventional anti-stain resistant resin that can conform to varying texturing geometries. In one embodiment, the stain resistant layer can be formed against a sheet of release paper having a texturing surface configured to form a textured surface on the stain resistant layer. Apple’s goal is to “add a stain proof resin layer to a plastic cosmetic surface without adversely affecting a cosmetic look and feel of the surface.”
Apple has also been granted a patent (number 9,529,391) for “button retention, assembly, and water sealing,” which indicates it’s looking toward waterproof, as opposed to water resistant, iPhones.
According to the patent, a sealed physical button for use with a portable electronic device effectively presents ingress of liquids. Embodiments include a button cap having flange portions that interlock with complementary flanges from a button retainer. The button cap may also include a downward oriented central post, proportioned and oriented to interface with the top surface of a button attached to a bracket.
The button retainer may include an aperture sized and positioned to receive the central post of the button cap. The button retainer may rest on a shelf within the electronic device housing such that the shelf interposes the bracket and the retainer to form a rigid seal.
Finally, Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,k530,316) for an “user interface tools for commute assistant.” It involves the Maps app for iOS and macOS devices.
According to the patent, the commute app receives a selection of a route from several different routes. Each route in the several different routes includes several stops. In response, the commute app also provides a dynamic focus table that includes a first portion for displaying a schedule of stops along the selected route and a second portion for displaying metadata regarding the selected route. The metadata presented in the second portion is automatically updated whenever a different schedule of stops is displayed in the first portion of the dynamic focus table.
Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.