Apple patent details next-gen dock with intelligent power management

A couple more recently granted Apple patents are emerging today (via PatentlyApple), one of which details an interesting new docking station with intelligent accessory power management, while once again providing hints at a secondary 30-pin connector for landscape orientation. The idea is to be able to provide various devices–  portable media players(iPod), cell phones (iPhone), monitors (iTV?)– with the ideal power source through a single accessory. It would also allow Apple to safely power larger devices such as a monitor through the same accessory. For example, as noted in the graphic above, the accessory could do things like “SetMaxCurrent”, allowing a device to charge at maximum available current level while still allowing proper current for operation of the device. The “GetPrefPower” command would allow the accessory to determine which power line it should utilize, while “SetBatteryCharging” would force a device’s internal battery to begin or stop charging.

PatentlyApple walks us through a few other aspects of the invention:

Another aspect of the invention may help prevent a portable computing device from drawing a high level of current that could be detrimental to an accessory, such as a cable. Another aspect of the invention may allow a battery pack or other accessory to instruct a portable computing device to not charge its internal battery…Another aspect of the invention may allow a portable computing device to determine which power supply among multiple power supplies should be used to power an accessory. Yet another aspect of the invention may allow an accessory to get charging current parameters from a portable computing device.

In the graphic below we see that Apple is once again hinting at a possible secondary 30-pin dock connector on a next-gen iPad to facilitate landscape docking. The patent also suspiciously describes docking a monitor, which of course will lead to endless speculation regarding some type of dockable, portable iTV or Apple Display. If you can’t wait to get your hands on whatever comes of the tech detailed in today’s patent, you may want to take a look at the AT&T Zero USB wall charger. Available for $20 right now, that device will allow you to use “almost any power cable” to charge your devices and is compatible with just about every quality smartphone on the market.

Apple was also granted a patent related to their luminescence shock avoidance algorithm, which provides relief from temporary strain on a user’s eyes when viewing displays in poor lighting conditions. You can read full details over at PatentlyApple.

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.