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Apple wins design patents

Apple picked up quite a few pending design patents this week -- most of them are pretty old, for products that have released but were simply waiting on the official patent. You can see the whole list over on Macsimum News -- they've got the iPod classic in there, the Apple remote, and quite a few patents for handling various functions of iOS or OS X.

One of the more interesting ones is patent number 7,7645,236, which seems to describe a broadband antenna, much like the one currently used around the edge of the iPhone 4. Obviously, that's been an object of contention on the new iPhone, but the patent was approved, so Apple owns this design, whatever it is.

The wording on the patent is kind of interesting in hindsight -- the patent describes a ground and a resonating element that may lie on the same plane, and they may "be separated by a gap that lies in the common plane." The patent summary then says that, "Electronic components such as the integrated circuits, display, and battery can be mounted in the handheld device so that they do not overlap the gap between the ground element and the resonating element." Guess Apple didn't actually consider your fingers to be "electronic components."

It's kind of incredible to think of all the various innovations Apple is churning out. So many patents get filed and never get used again, but Apple's laying claim to some pretty big developments here in somewhat sizable numbers. It makes you wonder just what things are like around the engineering offices in Cupertino -- there's a lot of solid innovation going on there these days.

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