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An Apple patent (number 8,275,924) has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a smart dock for chaining accessories.
Per the patent, a system for communicating between an accessory and an electronic device includes a first interface, a second interface, and a docking station. The first interface is configured to communicate with the electronic device. The second interface is configured to communicate with the accessory. The docking station is coupled to the first interface and the second interface. The docking station is configured to receive a set of preferences from the accessory and forward the set of preferences to the electronic device.
Here's Apple's background on the invention: "The present invention relates generally to media players, and more particularly, to docking stations for daisy chaining accessories for the media players.
"Electronic devices, such as portable media players, cellular phones, personal digital assists (PDAs), and the like, are prevalent in today's marketplace, as are the peripheral electronic devices that support their use, such as docking stations and the like. As competition in the personal electronics marketplace becomes ever more heated, consumers have become more demanding in terms of both the functionality and use of such devices.
"One popular function is the storage and output of content, such as music, images, photos, and movies. Improving compression methods like MPEG-standards, result in less storage capacity required making it more convenient to store tens of thousands of songs and photos, and several full-length DVD quality movies. Moreover, distribution via the Internet makes it easier to obtain multimedia content.
"Several accessories are available for use in connection with portable electronic devices, such as the iPod.. In the case of an MP3 player (or, for that matter, any other digital media playback device), a number of digitized audio files are stored in a storage medium included in or coupled to the MP3 player in a fashion deemed most suitable to the user. In order to provide improved listening experiences, a number of portable accessories can be connected to the MP3 player for broadcasting of played digital music files to more than a single person. Additionally, in the case of a portable movie player, a number of portable accessories can be connected to the movie player for broadcasting of played digital movie files on standard or high-definition screens.
"Accordingly, what is desired are improved methods and apparatus for using the portable electronic devices discussed above. Additionally, what is desired are improved methods and apparatus for reducing some of the drawbacks in the use of portable electronic devices."
The inventors are Scott Krueger and Jesse L. Borogusker.
Also appearing today at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office are:
° Patent number 8274520 for facilitating caching in an image-processing system;
° Patent number 8274880 for systems and methods for OFDM channelization;
° Patent number 8275352 for location-based emergency information;
° Patent number 8275910 for a communication function between ports on a node that does not require a common time base to be distributed across the network;
° Patent number 8276076 for methods and an apparatus for visualizing a media library;
° Patent number 8276098 for interactive image thumbnails;
° Patent number 8276164 for data processing on multiple processors.