This week featured 4 patent applications from Apple that are all about keeping your devices cool. The first, titled "Methods and Apparatus for Cooling Electronic Devices Using Flow Sensors," talks about using tiny sensors to determine the air velocity in a device and then adjusting fan speeds and/or computing power to keep the device cool.
The second application seems so obvious it's surprising nobody has filed it before. Titled "Methods and Apparatus for Cooling Electronic Devices Through User Interfaces," the patent filing describes how to use input/output ports (FireWire, USB, and Ethernet) to increase airflow through a device. In particular, the application details how ports can be positioned to provide the best possible cooling of components.
The third patent filing, "Methods and Apparatus for Cooling Electronic Devices Using Conductive Hinge Assemblies," is specifically focused on notebook type devices. Here, the hinges on a notebook's screen are effectively used as heat exchangers to cool certain heat-producing components.
The last filing, "Methods and Apparatus for Cooling Electronic Devices using Thermoelectric Cooling Components," describes using the Peltier Effect to actively cool components. This can be also described as "solid-state cooling."
While it's uncertain when or if we'll see any of these patents come to life in a future Apple product, it is great to see that they're trying to figure out a way to keep MacBooks from being used as frying pans.