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Recent Apple patents for phone, PDA, new cube?

Here we go with the Apple patent game again, and this time around it looks like we have blasts from the past and the future. Engadget first tracked down a patent filed by Apple yesterday (pictured right) for "A cubical computer housing assembly comprises first and second ends and four sides, which define an interior compartment for housing the various computer component." Could this be the comeback of the cube? Apple obviously hasn't let the concept go gently into that good night with their cubed New York store, but since this patent is so fresh, don't expected anything to come of it anytime soon - if ever.

The next patent is a bit more interesting in part because AppleInsider has quite a few juicy details, but also because it was filed over a year ago and references a phone-like Apple device which has received almost constant speculation during that time.

Check out a patent shot, published March 2006, that AppleInsider just found (thanks Jon!):

AI interviewed Shaw Wu, an American Technology Research analyst, and snagged plenty of quotes along the lines of how likely this device is, as well as the possibilities of this being a multi-functional device, switching between a phone, game player, PDA, GPS or even a remote control. Speaking of multi-function and patent ambiguity, however, we aren't finished yet.

This is yet another patent Engadget dug up, and this one was originally filed in April 26th of 2005, but published just yesterday, September 7th 2006. From the patent: "By way of example, the portable electronic device may correspond to tablet PCs, PDAs, media players (music, images, video), game players, telephones, cellular phones, mobile radios, cameras, GPS modules, remote controls, and/or the like."

So there you have it. What is 'it,' exactly? Who knows, maybe Apple's special event next week will be a multi-functional movie playing, GPS tracking, music listening, picture taking, game playing, thingamaPod (where's the 'homework doing' feature?). Or it could just be a big update to Front Row - we'll just have to wait.

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