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Apple Wants to Get Rid of Motherboard Cables

By - Source: USPTO | B 40 comments

A substantial number of Apple patents filed these days deal with changes to the miniaturization of components that allow Apple to shrink the size of its mobile devices.

There have been some rather wacky ideas such as cutting the audio plug in half, but there have been rather ingenious thoughts that prove how serious Apple is about its product design as well. Most of these approaches relate to ideas that apparently have been sparked by the need of a more compact design, even if a specialized manufacturer does not offer it.

A new patent application that describes a multi-pane circuit board may be one such example. To save space, Apple seems to be thinking about replacing traditional cables that connect circuit boards with flexible circuit boards. The purpose of these flexible boards is to transmit data and power between two boards - and to reduce the bill of materials and assembly cost of the circuit boards in its mobile devices.

From the patent application: "The flexible [board] can be deflected or twisted to connect first circuitry on the multi-plane rigid circuit board to second circuitry associated with another device component. The flexible member can be formed as an integral component of the multi-plane rigid circuit board, i.e., the flexible member and the multi-plane rigid circuit and the flexible member share a common substrate."

The document frequently refers to design advantages and mentions specifically that "the advantages of the invention are numerous." However, Apple refers to only one particular advantage: replacing flex cables.

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  • 29 Hide
    blingbling , September 28, 2011 8:02 PM
    I can't wait for one of these multi-plane circuit boards to be left in a bar.
  • 12 Hide
    digiex , September 28, 2011 8:03 PM
    flex connectors has been existing for a long time. even my old calculator had flex connectors.
  • 11 Hide
    stingstang , September 28, 2011 7:57 PM
    "The advantages of the invention are numerous" encompasses anything and everything. You just wait... Someone's going to slip up and apple's going to cite this.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    soo-nah-mee , September 28, 2011 7:51 PM
    Quote:
    Apple Wants to Get Rid of Motherboard Cables

    Where's this article?
    Is Tom's baiting us now?
  • 11 Hide
    stingstang , September 28, 2011 7:57 PM
    "The advantages of the invention are numerous" encompasses anything and everything. You just wait... Someone's going to slip up and apple's going to cite this.
  • -3 Hide
    nforce4max , September 28, 2011 8:01 PM
    Good ideas and great ones at that but for the wrong purpose though to maintain high prices while extracting ever greater profits.
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , September 28, 2011 8:01 PM
    stingstang"The advantages of the invention are numerous" encompasses anything and everything. You just wait... Someone's going to slip up and apple's going to cite this.

    well they just filed the patent, its gonna be years befor etheyre actually granted it. it's a good idea nonetheless, apple is good at brining innovation to the table, even though its at a very high price
  • 29 Hide
    blingbling , September 28, 2011 8:02 PM
    I can't wait for one of these multi-plane circuit boards to be left in a bar.
  • 12 Hide
    digiex , September 28, 2011 8:03 PM
    flex connectors has been existing for a long time. even my old calculator had flex connectors.
  • 0 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , September 28, 2011 8:05 PM
    Quote:
    well they just filed the patent, its gonna be years before theyre actually granted it. it's a good idea nonetheless, apple is good at brining innovation to the table, even though its at a very high price


    It's Apple, so the Patent Office is just waiting to rush it through. Never mind that these flexible boards exist today- and they can be off to sue people who think up flexible e-reader displays without a hiccup.

    Now that that's out of the way:

    It's a good idea. I hate having to buy new screens when the flexible cable breaks on an iPod touch while you're trying to fix it.
  • 4 Hide
    drwho1 , September 28, 2011 8:11 PM
    blingblingI can't wait for one of these multi-plane circuit boards to be left in a bar.


    LOL
  • 6 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 28, 2011 8:12 PM
    digiexflex connectors has been existing for a long time. even my old calculator had flex connectors.

    Doesn't matter, it could be 40 years ago, if Apple patents it first then the 100 billion calculators sold in that time don't count - that's how the law has been twisted.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , September 28, 2011 8:21 PM
    back_by_demandDoesn't matter, it could be 40 years ago, if Apple patents it first then the 100 billion calculators sold in that time don't count - that's how the law has been twisted.


    Are the newer style SLI/Crossfire connectors considered a flexible circuit board?
  • 2 Hide
    ram1009 , September 28, 2011 8:32 PM
    Nothing new here. Flexible circuit boards are old news. Using one in a computer, maybe not. Possible advantage would be greater bandwith and higher frequency. Also higher cost.
  • 3 Hide
    Marco925 , September 28, 2011 8:51 PM
    Quote:
    and to reduce the bill of materials and assembly cost of the circuit boards in its mobile devices.


    Not like we, the consumer, will see any of these savings.
  • 3 Hide
    hellwig , September 28, 2011 8:58 PM
    I've seen flexible circuit boards used to connect screens and drives in laptops. They connect the scanner on my printer to the rest of the unit, they are frickin everywhere. And multi-plane circuit boards? I'm not sure how a plane differs from a layer, and there are multi-layer boards all over the place (16+ layers). So what exactly did apple patent here, the wheel?
  • 4 Hide
    t_wilson , September 28, 2011 9:04 PM
    So they want the circuit board to be a moving part, which means it will be a breakable part. Is a patent really needed for this? To have a computer with no internal wires, they would just need to integrate all the components to the board.

    These companies now days churning out one ridiculous patent after another just to keep the patent trolling wheel rolling.
  • 1 Hide
    starzty , September 28, 2011 9:06 PM
    I just hope they aren't as hard to manage as the low profile foxconn connectors in the old Powerbooks. I remember trying to line them up and then screw together the case as fast as possible since they were held on by the pressure of the casing.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 28, 2011 9:08 PM
    This is apple we are talking about, they obviously invented the wheel. Any use of the wheel before they existed are mere fairy tales.

    The technology in the patent has been in use for at least 30 years in modern electronics.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 28, 2011 9:17 PM
    So what exactly did apple patent here, the wheel?....
    flexcables are long been used, but this patent seems to do with no extra connectors,looks like the copper layer and the board material are the connectors,and can be interconnected without the need of a separate connector.
  • -2 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , September 28, 2011 9:32 PM
    I SO prefer the normal cables to these flexible BS ones, they're a PAIN to manage and insert. Let Apple patent this junk all they want, we don't need it.
  • -2 Hide
    RazberyBandit , September 28, 2011 9:45 PM
    So they want to patent the idea of using flexible copper wiring within a flexible PCB? Where's the flexible PCB, or at least its proof of concept? Oh! Silly me... They don't need either one to get a patent for the use of something that may or may not exist. All they need to prove is they have an idea on how to implement it.

    Jeez our patent system is broken.
  • 1 Hide
    descendency , September 28, 2011 10:27 PM
    RazberyBanditJeez our patent system is broken.

    But we just signed patent reform!!!!

    /s
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