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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:22 PM   #1
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Apple Patents Nearly Invisible 'Microslot Antennas' Allowing for Smaller Devices




Apple has been awarded a patent (via AppleInsider) for 'microslot antenna' technology, which could enable 'invisible' radio antennas to be embedded into the housing of a Mac, iPhone or iPad to save space inside and allow for more compact devices.

Notebook computer with integrated wireless antenna (20) on device housing
The antennas would use microscopic slots in the housing, with widths of just a few microns,*making them almost invisible to the naked eye. The patent shows a variety of possible locations for the antennas on a laptop, though the same approach would likely be taken with iPhones and iPads also.

Top view of microslot antenna design supporting multiple frequencies
Current devices may contain antennas for GSM, 3G/LTE, GPS, wifi and Bluetooth, though some of these may be combined. The iPhone 5, for example, uses just two antennas for the five functions, using rapid frequency switching to enable one antenna to do two jobs. Eliminating the need for internal antenna space altogether would, though, allow for slimmer and smaller devices.

As TechCrunch observes, this could also create the possibility of an all-aluminum case. Apple has previously had to have a small area of glass or plastic to provide radio windows for the internal antennas. Microslot antennas would eliminate this need, perhaps leading to more Mac-like iPhones and iPads in future.

Apple's interest in the possibility of implementing microslot antennas dates back to at least 2007 when the patent was filed, meaning that the concept may be requiring significant refinement before arriving in a shipping product or may have been scrapped entirely by this point. Still, it is clear that Apple is continuing to look for ways to handle the increasing complexity of wireless communications while maintaining its design goals for size and aesthetics.

Article Link: Apple Patents Nearly Invisible 'Microslot Antennas' Allowing for Smaller Devices
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:23 PM   #2
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I'm always simultaneously fascinated & hopeful when I see patents come through like this. Really makes me curious and optimistic as to the continued and infinite possibilities in technology.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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I read that as "Apple Patents Microsoft" for a brief second there.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr McKay View Post
I read that as "Apple Patents Microsoft" for a brief second there.
Lol. Same here.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr McKay View Post
I read that as "Apple Patents Microsoft" for a brief second there.
Let Samsung try to copy that patent .
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dr McKay View Post
I read that as "Apple Patents Microsoft" for a brief second there.
You weren't the only one..
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:32 PM   #7
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go apple! iphones are too thick and heavy. i want it to be lighter be few grams and thinner by few mms
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:33 PM   #8
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Good, I've been wondering when they were going to make the iPhone 5 thinner. That sucker is way too thick for me!

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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:43 PM   #9
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So if this patent was filed in 2007

then that means it's not going to be seen in a product.

Something like this would have arrived in a product by 2010. Seeing that it's 2013 already, it's not going to happen. There was something fundamentally wrong with the implementation.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:44 PM   #10
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Even though I understood the need for glass for the antennas in the iPhone, I always thought it made it a little bit of the odd one out compared to the iPad and Mac. I guess Apple is getting around this, too. Always love hearing about patents and what innovation could be in the works.

EDIT: Although, as the person above me pointed out, if this dates back to 2007 maybe there's nothing to see here.

...I'll bet it would make Safari snappier though. Had to say it.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Good, I've been wondering when they were going to make the iPhone 5 thinner. That sucker is way too thick for me!

Haha, I know what you mean. What I'd be more excited about is the ability to make it all aluminum and to move away from the current antenna design. I don't like it being so boxy. It's more difficult to pick up.

I would LOVE the iPad mini design/form factor on the iPhone.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mozumder View Post
then that means it's not going to be seen in a product.

Something like this would have arrived in a product by 2010. Seeing that it's 2013 already, it's not going to happen. There was something fundamentally wrong with the implementation.
Or they were waiting to be granted the patent before using the technology and/or still perfecting upon it.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:47 PM   #13
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Are we talking about holes like the size of those on the front of the Unibody MacBook Pro housings; which are nearly invisible to pick out, but still let the sleep light through when the lid is closed? I think this is a fantastic, innovative idea.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:50 PM   #14
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Yeah, but will it work on 40m?

Seriously, if someone were to challenge this patent, I think Apple may come up against prior art. Slot antennas are nothing new—they've been mentioned in the ARRL Handbook for years now—and I'm not sure just making them very small is enough to be patentable.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gyrogeerloose View Post
and I'm not sure just making them very small is enough to be patentable.
Apparently it is. The US Patent office is a mess, but they aren't granting patents that would be so obviously similar to something that has been patented previously.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:54 PM   #16
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It seems like one minute Apple is working on bendable glass products and the next minute they're working on aluminum products. They've evidently got lots of irons in the fire. Who know which one will make it into production?

But this microslot technology might be good for the iPhone design-wise, not to make it thinner but to make it seamless, so they don't need those bands at the top and bottom.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:55 PM   #17
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not to argue but i think ipad mini and ipod touch is more slippery than the iphone 5. that does not mean that i would not love an iphone with the exact form factor as ipod touch superslim and i dont mind the color variations either

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Mac Maniac View Post
Haha, I know what you mean. What I'd be more excited about is the ability to make it all aluminum and to move away from the current antenna design. I don't like it being so boxy. It's more difficult to pick up.

I would LOVE the iPad mini design/form factor on the iPhone.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 12:59 PM   #18
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This is great news. It proves that Apple took Antennagate seriously & decided to learn to build high quality functional antennas. I wonder how long it will take for them to implement the new design.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 01:00 PM   #19
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So what happens when you drop your phone and damage the external slots?
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 01:01 PM   #20
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This is great news. It proves that Apple took Antennagate seriously & decided to learn to build high quality functional antennas. I wonder how long it will take for them to implement the new design.
If you read the article, it says that Apple had been investigating this back in 2007. Way before "atennagate"
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 01:03 PM   #21
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But this microslot technology might be good for the iPhone design-wise, not to make it thinner but to make it seamless, so they don't need those bands at the top and bottom.
I agree. The current external antenna is hideous looking.

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Originally Posted by basesloaded190 View Post
If you read the article, it says that Apple had been investigating this back in 2007. Way before "atennagate"
They weren't serious otherwise Antennagate would not have occurred.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 01:03 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Dr McKay View Post
I read that as "Apple Patents Microsoft" for a brief second there.
Or as
“Apple Patents Nearly Invisible 'Microsoft'”
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 01:04 PM   #23
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Microscopic slots = dust magnet.
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 01:05 PM   #24
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I don't see how this is original. It looks like an aperture coupled microstrip antenna. The slots are in an array, but still, not anything special. Maybe because they're integrating it into the metalic body of the computer? Is that the patent? "To use the computer body as an antenna."
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Old Feb 12, 2013, 01:09 PM   #25
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Bring 4G LTE to Mac!
So that you do not need your MBA/MBP AND your iPhone!? Tim Cook says: Nooooooooo!

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