Apple has been awarded 52 patents today, including one for a future HomePod with touch controls, another for a iPhone mini with wraparound display and more

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Apple’s patent describes how a touch sensor may be used to detect touch input on the layer of fabric of a future HomePod.

Apple has been granted patent 11,137,861 entitled “Fabric-covered electronic device with touch sensor,” that was first made public in a patent application on March 5, 2020. The patent relates to a future HomePod with touch sensitive controls built into the fabric that could light up to be visible when needed and deactivate when not in use.

Highlights

  • In other arrangements, the touch sensor is formed from conductive traces on a substrate. The substrate may be formed from portions of the curved housing or may be formed from a separate layer.

  • The touch sensor may include capacitive touch sensor electrodes including drive lines and sense lines. In some arrangements, the touch sensor is formed from conductive strands in the layer of fabric.

Apple won 52 Patents today covering a possible next-gen HomePod with Touch Controls, an iPhone mini with a Wrap-Around Display and more. … Apple was also granted a patent for a mini-iPhone with a wrap-around glass enclosure offering a looping display from the face to the back of the device and virtual side buttons.

Light-emitting components and/or fabric with different visual characteristics may be used to mark where the touch-sensitive regions of the fabric are located. The touch-sensitive regions may be shaped as media control symbols.

Apple files countless patent applications every year, and it is granted something like countless minus one. Just because there’s a patent, just because it’s been granted, it does not follow that Apple will make whatever the idea is — except sometimes, surely, it must be very keen.