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Apple patents iPod automobile dock

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AppleInsider reports on an Apple patent filing for an iPod automobile dock. The device would seemingly complete with the TuneDok sold by Belkin, using a different method for cable management.

Apple's patent (patent 20050147951), titled "Electronic device holder", is very general, referring to use for a digital music player in an automobile only as examples. Diagrams are included.

Abstract

An apparatus that can secure an electronic device and be inserted into a conventional cup holder is described. The cup holder, for example, is inside of an automobile. The electronic device being held can be a variety of devices that include a digital music player. One embodiment of the invention includes a spool about which connecting cable can be wound. Adapting sleeves that fit around the base of the apparatus can be used to adapt electronic device holder to cup holders of different sizes and shapes.
 

Doctor Q

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It's hard to be impressed by a patent for a cup holder. Why is the patent so general? Possible answers: Apple has plans for it for other than iPods or for other than in cars. Apple purposely avoided specifying their intended use. Apple simply wanted the patent to cover as much ground as possible. Or Apple hasn't decided yet.
 
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Lacero

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Jan 20, 2005
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Cup holders are for hot beverages like coffee, tea and for pop and sodas, not for iPods. Nice try Apple, hope you come up with something a little more revolutionary than Belkin's idea that doesn't mean you have to give up your cup holder.
 
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Doctor Q

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There's a TuneDok for iPod mini too.

People joke about how cars have so many cup holders these days. Perhaps there's a good reason to have 12 cup holders in your car... only some of them are for cups!
 
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iMeowbot

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Aug 30, 2003
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Apple patents can be misleading. The cable manglement doohickey may be the interesting part (compare with iPod click wheel patented with a silly mouse application.)
 
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sirlethean

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Jan 6, 2004
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It's not really a cup holder... it's an iPod holder that is designed to fit in a cup holder (no suction cups or sticky stuff to attach it to the dashboard). That's what it looks like to me anyway.
 
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ham_man

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Jan 21, 2005
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Interesting that Apple has a patent for a cupholder dock. I would really like to see where this goes, as the abstract is pretty vaque.
 
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mlrproducts

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Apr 18, 2004
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I've always thought about something like this for charging (IE: mobile phones, iPods, etc).

GEEZ never thought to get a pantent! Darnit!
 
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Squire

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Jan 8, 2003
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My iPod fits quite nicely in my cup holder without the need of a $30 accessory. I guess I'm not concerned enough about aesthetics.

Squire
 
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Squire

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bankshot said:
Judging by your Avatar, I'd have to agree with that statement. :D

Nice. And so true. That got a good chuckle out of me.

Seriously, though, some of the accessories that come out for the iPod are just lame. I guess that happens all the time when a product reaches iconic status. And, I suppose, Apple might as well reap some of the benefits [of the half billion dollar accessory market] themselves. I think we're just seeing the beginning of this.

Once again, it all started with the socks.

Squire
 
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MacDawg

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Mar 20, 2004
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Lacero said:
Cup holders are for hot beverages like coffee, tea and for pop and sodas, not for iPods. Nice try Apple, hope you come up with something a little more revolutionary than Belkin's idea that doesn't mean you have to give up your cup holder.

My daughter gave me a TuneDok for Father's Day 'cause mine was sitting in the cupholder anyway. I like it, and thought it was a great gift. Of course my console has 2 cupholders, my dashboard has 2 more and there are 2 for the back seat as well, so I guess I could spare one! :eek:

Woof, Woof - Dawg
 
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840quadra

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Feb 1, 2005
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does that mean that those of us that installed and configured our own cup holder systems are in violation of this patent?

I am glad that apple is addressing the car install issue, but it feels like they should just leave this part to the aftermarket.
 
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Zoboomafoo

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May 22, 2002
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Doctor Q said:
It's hard to be impressed by a patent for a cup holder. Why is the patent so general? Possible answers: Apple has plans for it for other than iPods or for other than in cars. Apple purposely avoided specifying their intended use. Apple simply wanted the patent to cover as much ground as possible. Or Apple hasn't decided yet.

NOT a patent. patent APPLICATION.

they're written to be general so that they may offer the largest protection possible. such is the nature of patents.

now, the onus is on an examiner to decide if prior art demonstrates apple has indeed come up with something new, or if it's previously been done or obvious.

i would expect the examiner to consider such things as the tunedok as prior art. whether the claim language is differentiable from the tunedok i do not know and probably should not say, as i am a patent examiner and i'm pretty sure a 'so say one, so say you all' situation exists.

and keep in mind, this application claims priority to June of 2002. so if the tunedok emerged after this date, it wouldn't even be considered.
 
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AoWolf

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Nov 17, 2003
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With some thing like this I am afraid people will know I have an iPod and break into my car looking for it. I guess in the end I rather just use my iTrip, although the RDF may change my thinking...
 
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crushrus

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Mar 17, 2003
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i got this awesome holder, it's called 'my lap'. it works really well, cause i'm totally ADD and can never listen to the same thing for very long. however, when i do find something that i feel like just leaving on, then i use my alternate holder which is called "inside the arm rest". that's another goood one.

i'd had 'my lap' laying around for years, so that was free, but unfortunately the 'arm rest' cost me almost 20k. luckily it comes with a lot of sweet attachments, like wheels and a turbo, so i can use it for other stuff also.
 
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wdlove

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Oct 20, 2002
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Doctor Q said:
Very large image files submitted with the patent:

The search limit has expired on your images. :eek:

Doctor Q could you be kind enough to post the actual images?
 
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wdlove

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Oct 20, 2002
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Thank you Doctor Q. The diagrams are interesting. With so many it looks as thought there were be adaptability to a lot of different situations. The one looks like an iPod, figure 3. Also reminds me of a heating element.
 
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Doctor Q

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To me, Figure 1 looks like a baby's "tippy cup" with the top upside-down.

Of course, a Tippy Cup is just what many drivers need!

 
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michaelrjohnson

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Aug 9, 2000
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Doctor Q said:
To me, Figure 1 looks like a baby's "tippy cup" with the top upside-down.

Of course, a Tippy Cup is just what many drivers need!

lol... yes, it does!

(And I decided to include the image in the quote just so it could make 2 appearances on the same page! :D )
 
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Squire

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crushrus said:
i got this awesome holder, it's called 'my lap'. it works really well, cause i'm totally ADD and can never listen to the same thing for very long. however, when i do find something that i feel like just leaving on, then i use my alternate holder which is called "inside the arm rest". that's another goood one.

i'd had 'my lap' laying around for years, so that was free, but unfortunately the 'arm rest' cost me almost 20k. luckily it comes with a lot of sweet attachments, like wheels and a turbo, so i can use it for other stuff also.

Your list of accessories sounds similar to mine. ;) The one I currently use is called "the-cup-holder-that-isn't-big-enough-for-my-massive-Starbucks-cup-but-that's-exactly-the-same-size-as-my-iPod" holder.

I guess, after looking more closely at the pics, the device seems a little more useful. (It appears to have the ability to re-charge.)

Squire
 
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