News Apple rethinks retail desktop security for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch in new patent filing and more

In late February 2022, Patently Apple filed a design patent for a new Apple Store iPhone charging stand, which is primarily a single stand. On Thursday, the last patent filing date of the year, the USPTO published a detailed patent application from Apple covering single and multiple iPhone charging docks with built-in security systems for tables in Apple retail stores. Following a spate of Apple Store robberies, Apple has decided to rethink product watch security. Our cover image showing the first of their new security mounts has appeared in some iPhone stores. It’s unclear whether Apple intends to expand its new desktop security system globally in 2023, or keep it in major urban centers only.

display unit

In the background of Apple’s patent, they note that retail stores display products on tables. These devices are expensive and are often stolen. To thwart such attempts at theft, retailers use security cables that attach directly to the table. There is a need for a display shelving unit that can directly manage security cables without compromising the form factor of the display shelf and prevents multiple different modes of security cable tampering.

Apple states that their patents relate to display models at Apple Stores (or retail partners) Suitable for consumer electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart watches and other devices. Display models can be provided on retail display fixtures for customer selection and evaluation. To deter theft and maintain a neat appearance, a security cable can be used to tether the display model to a display fixture, such as a table or other display unit. A display fixture (e.g., a table) can include a stand on which the display model can be placed, and the tether can include cable management features, such as retractors, to keep cables neat and out of sight when the display model is placed on its display on the shelf.

Due to their size, existing retractors are placed separately from the display shelf (eg, under a table), which complicates product display and makes installation and maintenance cumbersome. Such configurations also involve integration with the table or other fixture on which they are displayed, often involving holes in the table for cable routing, or other complex cable routing to retractors incorporated into the table. This not only complicates display shelves and tables, but also their assembly, repair and maintenance.

Each display stand can include a charger mounted on the stand. The charger can both magnetically hold consumer electronic devices and wirelessly charge consumer electronic devices. To help prevent theft, a security cable may be associated with each display shelf to secure the consumer electronics device to the display shelf unit. The display shelf unit may include a retractor for each of its display shelves to automatically wrap and hide the security cord when its associated consumer electronic device is not being disposed of. The retractor can have a low-profile form factor to fit within the elongated base of the display unit. Retraction of the retractor may be spring driven. The spring may exert a force sufficient to retract the security cable, but light enough that no noticeable pull on the security cable is felt when interacting with a consumer electronic product secured to the security cable.

In some embodiments, the retractor may be housed horizontally inside the base of the display shelving unit. The retractor may include an inner geometry that wraps the safety cable radially outward along a single horizontal plane. This coiled arrangement ensures smooth extension and retraction of the security cable and mitigates kinks, which improves i) the durability of the security cable and retractor and ii) the user’s experience with the protected consumer electronics product. The roll-up also enables a low-profile design of the retractor, which allows the base of the display unit to accommodate the retractor within itself while maintaining a sleek, unobtrusive profile.

The display unit may also include guides for each display, such as rollers, which may guide a corresponding security cable from the interior of the base to the consumer electronic device. The guide can change the direction of the security cable from a horizontal orientation in the retractor to a vertical orientation and guide the security cable from inside the base to the consumer electronic device. The rail can improve the durability of the safety cable by reducing friction with the display stand unit, and can also support the smooth extension and retraction of the safety cable.

The display unit may also include a printed circuit board assembly that manages wireless charging, electronically monitors the security cable for signals indicative of different security cable tamper patterns, and triggers an external alarm if any of these signals are detected. A display shelf unit with a printed circuit board assembly can prevent a number of different modes of security cable tampering including, for example, removal of the security cable from the consumer electronics product, crimping or shorting of the security circuit, or cutting the security cable.

For example, a printed circuit board assembly can detect attempts to crimp a safety cable and short a safety circuit by monitoring the resistance level of the safety circuit. If the PCB assembly determines that the resistance is out of range, for example, due to a theft attempt by crimping the security cable to short or bypass the security circuit, the PCB can trigger an alarm to alert store personnel of the potential theft.

The electrical interface cable provides power to the display unit. The printed circuit board assembly can deliver power to each consumer electronic product connected to the display shelf through dedicated electronic interface cables that run through the poles of each display shelf to connect to the charger. Because the retractor is positioned within the base of the display unit and the safety cable comes out of the base without passing through the rod of the display, the rod of the display can be thinner than a display with internally managed safety cables. The electrical interface cable that powers the display stand unit also connects the printed circuit board to an external alarm.

The display shelf unit may include any number of display shelves. For example, the display shelf unit may include a single display shelf for displaying a single consumer electronic device, or the display shelf unit may include four display shelves for displaying four consumer electronic devices, for example. The display shelf unit may include artwork or other information provided on the base to characterize the consumer electronics product being displayed.

Apple’s patent drawing. Figure 1 below shows a schematic diagram of an example display shelving unit; fig. Figure 2 shows a front perspective view of an example display unit with four display shelves; Fig. FIG. 3 shows a rear perspective view of the example display shelving unit of FIG. 1 . 2.

Apple’s patent drawing. Figure 12 below shows a rear perspective view of an example display shelf unit with a single display shelf.

3 Apple Store Single Charging Dock and Security System

Apple’s patent drawing. Figure 16 above shows an example of a security monitoring process.

For more details, please refer to Apple’s patent application number US 20220408943 A1.

Partial list of Apple inventors

  • Priya Nambiar: Chief Product Design Engineer
  • Clay Woosley: Product Design Manager
  • Promote; Daniel S.
  • Eric Wang: Senior Product Design Engineer
  • Greg Ritter: Product Design Engineer

Packaging and Tamper Evident Sealing

For those in the world of retail packaging, two patent applications were published on Thursday, both titled “Packaging with Tamper Evidence Seal.” For more information, check out Apple’s patent applications US 20220411149 A1 and US 20220411150 A1.

Apple’s patent drawing. Figure 9 below shows a perspective view of the package with the bottom box, lid and tamper evident seal in one embodiment.

4 Apple retail packaging patents

10.51FX - Patent application column

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