Here’s an interesting finding by our friends at PatentlyApple this afternoon. Specifically, it covers the future possibility of Apple’s MacBook series of portables carrying the necessary antenna technology to allow the notebooks to connect to LTE (4G) networks.
Describing an “always-on service” networking service – (similar to the one offered to users of Apple’s network-equipped iPad models) – the patent outlines Apple’s possible plans to include wireless networking antennas in both the top-left and top-right of the MacBook’s metal-encased lid.
Delving further into the set of 21 newly-published Apple patents, we find that the company may want to eventually provide these network connections “over one or more communications bands.”
PatentlyApple explains this in more detail:
Typical communications bands that may be handled by the wireless communications circuitry in device 10 include the 2.4 GHz band that is sometimes used for Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) and Bluetooth communications, the 5 GHz band that is sometimes used for Wi-Fi communications, the 1575 MHz Global Positioning System band, the 2G and 3G cellular telephone bands (e.g., 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz, and 2100 MHz), the licensed WiMAX bands (e.g., 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz, and 3.5 GHz), and the unlicensed 60 GHz band (e.g., the 57-64 GHz band in the United States and the 59-66 GHz band in Europe and Japan).
In the patent, Apple described that these bands may be covered by “using single and multiband antennas.” In one example Apple references that cellular telephone communications can be handled “using multiband cellular telephone antennas,” while local data communications must be handled “using multiband wireless local area network antennas.”
In a separate patent found in amongst the above original Apple filings, the company also shows how it may wish to return to its previous backside located antenna on the iPhone, versus its – coined “revolutionary” – attempt to integrate these wireless antennas into the aluminum band which runs around the outside of both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S – a method which is since thought to have at least contributed (somewhat) to signal attenuation issues among a small group of owners.
Specifically, Apple describes the future possibility of placing a wireless antenna in the ‘bottom-40′ of the iPhone’s back-facing plate, a region it calls the “dielectric window.”
According to Apple, dielectric window 58 would allow radio-frequency signals for the antenna in region 18 to pass through the backside of the iPhone. The dielectric window could be formed from any suitable dielectric materials that are similar in appearance to surrounding portions of the housing of the iPhone.
In one example, Apple states that when the iPhone determines that the user’s ear is near port on the face side of the iPhone, the iPhone may switch to using the antenna in region 18 of the back side of the iPhone. Apple interestingly notes that “this type of arrangement may reduce the amount of radio-frequency radiation that is produced by the iPhone in close proximity to the user’s head.” Whether Apple will ever implement this aspect of the iPhone’s design remains to be seen. Yet now that we’ve all seen that Apple considers radiation as a potential hazard to users, you’d expect that they’d implement this feature just for the sake of positive PR that they’d gain by addressing this public issue.
News of the above patents follows the discovery of what was thought to be an internal Apple prototype of a 3G-enabled, external antenna-boasting model of the MacBook Pro, surfacing on online auction eBay in August last year.
Full details on both of the patents above can be found at PatentlyApple.