Did Apple Pull Back the Curtain on iPhone 6?

Hot on the heels of a patent victory for Apple, in the form of ownership of the design of the device, comes news of yet another Apple patent, and this one may have lifted the curtain– if only a tiny bit– on the inevitable iPhone 6.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple Patent 8,334,704, which covers “Systems and methods for providing a system-on-a-substrate.”

The patent covers a System-On-Chip, or SOC, puts all the necessary circuitry on one chip. Under this configuration, components can be placed on top of one another in the same substrate (media), hence the name.

The abstract for the patent states, “In some embodiments, the necessary components for an entire system (e.g., a processor, memory, accelerometers, I/O circuitry, or any other suitable components) can be fabricated on a single microchip in ‘bare die’ form.”

This sort of configuration is in contrast to what has been the norm up to this point, which is a separate microchip for each component (memory, processor, etc.), and that in turn is installed onto the circuit board.

The plans for an SOC have apparently been in the works for some time now; the patent was filed on September 23, 2009, and the patent covers quite a bit, according to the documents available on the USPTO website.

“A method for creating a system, the method comprising: coupling a microchip to a first surface of a substrate, wherein the microchip comprises every system component of the system…” is the first claim the patent covers.

Several other claims, all of which build on one another, are made, covering “coupling the flex to an entity,” ensuring a means by which the “entity comprises a flash memory,” making sure “at least one test point is positioned in the flex,” providing “a memory component coupled to the at least one test point,” concluding with “decoupling the memory component from the at least one test point, wherein the decoupling allows the at least one test point to be accessed by a test probe.”

The patent is really quite a fascinating read, and shows that Apple is serious about making the iPhone the leading mobile device for the world.

Although the iPhone 5 is already powered by the A6 SOC, this new patent could very well be a tiny glimpse of what’s in store for the iPhone 6.

[via: Apple Insider]