Apple applies for ‘Electronic device holder’ patent

Apple Computer has submitted United States Patent Application #20050147951 for an “Electronic device holder” that reads, in part:

An apparatus that can secure an electronic device and be inserted into a conventional cup holder is described. The cup holder, for example, is inside of an automobile. The electronic device being held can be a variety of devices that include a digital music player. One embodiment of the invention includes a spool about which connecting cable can be wound. Adapting sleeves that fit around the base of the apparatus can be used to adapt electronic device holder to cup holders of different sizes and shapes.

Digital music players are becoming more popular as personal entertainment devices. The attractiveness of digital music players is in their capability of storing and playing large amounts of music and their ability to play music without skipping. These attributes make digital music players ideal for use in different environments including automobile environments. However for automobile use, it is desirable to use a mounting device to secure the digital music player within the car. Otherwise, the jostling caused by the car’s movement can damage the digital music player. Also beneficial is a mounting device capable of managing the length of the cable used to connect the player to the car’s audio system. This is especially beneficial when lengthy cables can be messy and cause a hazard in which passengers can get their feet entangled. Specialized mounting devices are required to secure the digital music players since most automobiles do not come with digital device holders.

However, specialized mounting devices are difficult to install because special parts are typically required to attach the devices to car interiors. Also, specialized mounting devices usually cannot manage the length of cables. Therefore, in view of the foregoing, an electronic device holder that easily adapts to automobile interiors and which can manage the length of interconnecting cables would be desirable.

Patent application here.

Images from the application here.
Listen, we don’t care what you say, we’re sure it’ll be one helluva cup holder adapter. wink

We do wonder, however, what Belkin, the makers of the “TuneDok Car Holder for iPod,” think about this patent application. Apple’s drawings and description do Think Different™ than Belkin’s already-shipping product.

21 Comments

  1. MikeR: yet another good idea. i seem to remember one or two car audio makers who did that very thing a couple of years back… cant remember who they were, but i havent seen any other car head units with that feature since.

  2. Hey Tempus, how the heck are you. Long time no speak with thee!

    Those old units where probably built to accept a walkman. I wonder if they’d work with a iPod?

    I posted on another thread that I hope Apple builds a receiver to accept an iPod. I would never again buy a Sony product so Apple would be it.

    As far as a car radio, I only need two stations. One to listen to the Twins for baseball and one for the Vikings for football. That’s American Football for those of you outside the USA.

  3. I just checked at the Aiwa web site and they make car radios with mp3 input. The line read ” MP3 playback capability (ID3 Tag ver.2.x)” whatever that means. Does the radio/receiver need software to play from an iPod or is it plug n play!!

  4. Without checking the website (so pardon me if I’m way off), I’d guess the “mp3 input” is just a 1/8″ audio jack renamed for current marketing trends. What else could it be?

    If it was WAAAAAY cool, MDN would have already told us about it, right?

  5. Someone suggested that since iPod Nano’s center button is flat (not raised like the other iPods) and the audio jack is on the bottom is because the iPod Nano can actually be inserted into the car (much like inserting a CF card into your camera).

    This patent sort of really backs that claim up.

    How it could be implemented w/ older cars is beyond me.

    [PowerMac]

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