Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,239,390) for “movable panel assemblies” for automobile roofs.
In the patent info, the tech giant notes that some automobile windows, such as windows incorporated in doors, are movable to an open position to admit air into the interior of the vehicle. In order to admit additional light and air into the vehicle interior, some fixed-roof automobiles include a movable panel known as a sunroof. Sunroofs come in many styles, with the most popular styles incorporating a sliding mechanism that moves a sunroof panel rearward out of a sunroof opening, either to a compartment internal to the roof of the vehicle or to a position external to the roof of the vehicle. Applel thinks it can make an even better system.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A vehicle includes an opening, a first panel, and a second panel. The first panel and the second panel obstruct the opening in a closed position and are movable to an open position. In the open position, at least part of the first panel may be positioned forward of the opening, and at least part of the second panel may be positioned rearward of the opening.
“In the open position, at least part of the first panel may be pivoted upward relative to the opening, and at least part of the second panel may be positioned rearward of the opening. In the open position, at least part of the first panel may be positioned forward of the opening. In the open position, the first panel may be moved forward and downward into an interior space, and the second panel may be moved rearward and downward into the interior space.”
Of course, 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.