Monday, July 11, 2005, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)
Filing reveals Apple-branded iPod auto dockApple Computer may have plans to introduce its own version of a popular iPod accessory that allows users to secure the digital music player in a cup-holder cavity of an automobile, documents have revealed.
In a February filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple describes the "electronic device holder" as an "apparatus that can secure an electronic device and be inserted into a conventional cup holder. The cup holder, for example, is inside of an automobile."
Similar to Belkin's (US)$30 TuneDok, the Apple iPod dock employs adapting sleeves that fit around the base of the apparatus and can be used to adapt the device holder to cup holders of different sizes and shapes.
The base of the unit — the part which gets inserted into the cup-holder — includes a winding spool for managing the cable used to connect the iPod to an automobile's audio system. By contrast, the TuneDok uses a "desecrate cable-management clip."
Throughout the patent filing, Apple implies that the rudimentary dock design could be adapted to secure devices other than iPods. "The electronic device being held can be a variety of devices that include a digital music player," the filing states.
Matthew Rohrbach, an Apple employee residing in San Francisco, Calif. is credited with invention. Mr. Rohrbach's name has also appeared in earlier Apple hardware design patents. Most notably, he is credited for his part in the design of an Apple tablet computer system that was never brought to market.
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