On Thursday the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a possible future feature that will provide iPhone users with a faster, more efficient method of charging their iPhone. Apple describes this feature as a “protective charging mode.” Apple’s new feature will provide users with a method of ensuring that they don’t over-charge their iPhone battery which leads to damage and poor performance over time.
Currently Apple offers something similar though not as extensive under ‘Battery’ in settings, then under ‘Battery Health.’ It would appear as though Apple wants to ensure that users don’t overlook this feature by providing a more dramatic set of interfaces to grab the user’s attention.
The new or vastly updated feature will increase the effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction of their devices, like an iPhone. Such methods and interfaces may complement or replace other methods for indicating a charging mode of an electronic device.
With extensive daily use, the desire to have a long battery life is one of the most important operational characteristics of the electronic device. However, as the overall size of the electronic device continues to get smaller, the internal space of the electronic device also gets smaller. This reduced internal space may result in a smaller battery as well. With a smaller battery utilized in electronic device, the battery may need to be charged daily, or even several times a day.
The charging of an electronic device such as an iPhone typically includes electrically coupling the electronic device to an external power source. The external power source may charge a depleted battery to a full charge level (e.g., 100%). Once the battery reaches the full charge level, the electronic device may stop charging the battery, which may ultimately allow the fully charged battery to deplete. When the battery depletes to a predetermined minimum charge level (for example, 90%), the electronic device may once again charge the battery with power supplied by the external power source until the battery reaches the full charge level again. When an electronic device remains connected to the external power source, the cycle between full charge level and predetermined minimum charge level may occur several times. This is likely to occur when charging it overnight.
With each charge to the full charge level and/or each cycle between the full charge level and the predetermined minimum charge level, the life of certain types of batteries may be reduced.
More specifically, each time such batteries cycle between the full charge level and predetermined minimum charge level during the conventional charging process, the battery’s ability to hold a maximum charge for a duration of time may be reduced.
Over time the reduction in the battery’s ability to hold the charge may result in the battery needing to be charged several times a day. When the battery cannot be charged several times a day, the battery may be completely depleted and the electronic device may be inoperable (e.g., shutdown due to lack of power).
A protective charging mode may improve a battery’s ability to hold charge a charge over time by reducing the amount of time that the battery stays in the fully charged state.
Apple’s invention provides an electronic device, such as an iPhone with a faster, more efficient method with interfaces that indicate when a protective charging mode is enabled for the electronic device.
Such methods and interfaces optionally complement or replace other methods for indicating a charging mode. Such methods and interfaces reduce the cognitive burden on a user and produce a more efficient human-machine interface.
Apple further notes that while an electronic device is in a charging configuration with respect to an external power source, a user interface may indicate that charging of the energy-storage component has been stopped before reaching a full charge level. The user interface may also include a visual indication that the electronic device is in a protective charging mode in which charging of the energy-storage component is delayed based on predetermined criteria.
At the end of the day, devices like the iPhone may be provided with faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for indicating a protective charging mode, thereby increasing the effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction of their devices, like an iPhone. Such methods and interfaces may complement or replace other methods for indicating a charging mode of an electronic device.
Protective Charging Mode Interfaces
The following patent figures cover interfaces relating to the newly invented ‘Protective Charging Mode’ feature that could be set for future iPhones.
Several of Apple’s patent FIGS. below cover an education user interface #618 as presented in patent FIG. 6K. The education user interface is displayed when an iPhone is placed in a charging configuration with respect to the external power source for the first time after having the protective charging mode capability enabled (e.g., after a software update enabling the protective charging mode; after turning on the capability in a settings interface, as shown in FIGS. 7A-7C further below).
The education user interface is an educational notification describing the protective charging mode. In some embodiments, the education user interface includes a confirm affordance #620. In response to detecting an input corresponding to the confirm affordance, the education user interface ceases to be displayed and is replaced with user interface 604 as shown in FIG. 6B,
In some embodiments, the education user interface ceases to be displayed after a predetermined amount of time.
Apple’s patent FIG. 8 below is a flowchart. Some operations in method #800 are, optionally, combined, the orders of some operations are, optionally, changed, and some operations are, optionally, omitted.
Further, method #800 provides an intuitive way for indicating a protective charging mode of an electronic device. The method reduces the cognitive burden on a user for determining whether the electronic device is in a protective charging mode, thereby creating a more efficient human-machine interface.
Apple’s patent application number 20200358302 that was published Thursday by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back Q4 2019. Apple’s original filing, via a provisional patent was filed in Q2 2019.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.