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Apple patents recap, universal docks, iPod motion controls and more

Joachim Bean

Over the past few days, several patent applications by Apple have been unearthed -- here's a recap.

Universal Dock
Apple flied a patent for a more "universal" dock for iPods and iPhones. This dock would be made of an elastic, sponge-like material, and would conform to any shape, instead of having to find a dock adapter. Silly putty? Spage-age memory foam? We're not sure what the magical morphing material would be, but not having to deal with bunches of little adapters for each iPod would be terrific.

Tamper-resistant indicators
Apple also filed a patent for a "sticker" which would show evidence of tampering. If you would open the casing of an Apple product, the casing could be attached to a sticker, which would also be attached to a part inside the casing, and would indicate if the casing had been opened. This would be similar to the liquid sensors that Apple has been putting in iPhone and recent iPod models. It also sounds similar to the same sorts of stickers you see warning you that you'll violate your warranty if you break the seal. This warning is seen frequently on hard drives, but would Apple use this to preclude 3rd-party battery replacements? We hope not.

iPod motion controls
Apple also filed a patent for controlling an iPod with motion. It would use an accelerometer, which is currently found in the iPod nano, iPod touch and iPhone. There's the "Shake to Shuffle" that's been a part of 4th and 5th generation iPod nano models, and the iPhone and iPod touch since iPhone OS 3.0, which allows to skip to a random song by shaking the device. Further motion-based controls may allow you to scroll by tilting, or move to the next song by "flicking" the device in your hand. Either way, you'll want to turn it off before you go dancing in an iPod ad.

As with all patent applications, it doesn't mean that these features could be released, it just gives a general idea on what Apple has been focusing on.

[Engadget and AppleInsider]

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