Apple patents car dock for iPod

Tech Culture

Apple has applied for a patent that could help the average car driver pimp their ride with an iPod.

U.S. patent number "20050147951," titled "Electronic device holder," describes a gadget that can be inserted into a common automobile cup holder that could house "a variety of devices that include a digital music player."

In its description, Apple's patent complains that hooking up an iPod in your car is too complex if it involves specialized mounting devices with cables that can interfere with your feet.

"One embodiment of the invention includes a spool about which connecting cable can be wound. Adapting sleeves that fit around the base of the apparatus can be used to adapt electronic device holder to cup holders of different sizes and shapes," Apple said as part of the patent's abstract.

Currently, Apple endorses custom kits from automakers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz as well as new additions Audi, Volkswagen, Honda and Acura. The Macintosh maker also supports connection products from stereo accessory manufacturers such as Alpine, Clarion, Pioneer and Kenwood. However, an iPod-ready docking station that could fit in a standard cup holder could open up more possibilities for customers to bring iPods along for the ride.

Matthew Rohrbach out of San Francisco takes credit for coming up with the idea. Patent attorneys Beyer Weaver & Thomas will make sure Apple doesn't lose out on the licensing of the device like it may have with the iPod design.

Nine sketches of the device are posted on the U.S. PTO Web site, but you need a Tiff viewer to read them. Ironically, QuickTime wouldn't let me view the pictures. A couple of the sketches show off different "adapting sleeves," which are used to adapt an electronic device holder to cup holders of different shapes and sizes.

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