Patent published on March 28, 2024

Apple Patents Energy-Efficient Circuit for iPhone Battery Management

Apple, the renowned technology company, has recently been granted a patent for their innovative solution in the form of a bandgap circuit with low power consumption. This groundbreaking technology aims to address a significant problem faced by many battery-powered applications, such as the battery management system in Apple's iPhone.

The core problem that the patent is solving lies in the use of bandgap circuits, which are commonly employed as voltage references in battery-powered applications. These circuits typically utilize high resistances to reduce overall current consumption. However, this approach brings about two main challenges.

Firstly, high resistances require a larger layout area for the bandgap circuit. To compensate for temperature variations, a fixed voltage, typically around 1.2V, is generated by the voltage generator circuit. In order to obtain the desired voltage, a voltage divider is necessary, and this often comprises of high resistances. As a result, the overall current consumption increases, leading to a larger layout area for the circuit.

Secondly, high resistances contribute to an increase in noise levels within the bandgap circuit. The white noise generated by these resistances is directly proportional to their high values. Consequently, the level of noise in the bandgap circuit becomes prohibitively high.

Apple's innovative bandgap circuit with low power consumption overcomes these challenges and presents several advantages. The new circuit, which includes a voltage generator circuit coupled to a sample and hold circuit, reduces the area required by the voltage generator circuit significantly. Unlike traditional designs that rely on large resistances for current limitation, this new circuit does not demand such resistances. Instead, it utilizes a pair of transistors, called Q1 and Q2, along with current sources to generate two voltages, Vbe1 and Vbe2.

Furthermore, the sample and hold circuit within this technology offers improved mismatch performances compared to the resistances commonly used in traditional bandgap circuits. The use of capacitances in the sample and hold circuit ensures better accuracy pre-trim and smaller variations in the output voltage, Vout. By combining the sample and hold circuit with the voltage generator circuit, this innovation provides compensation in temperature, scaling of the bandgap voltage, and a reduction in average quiescent current (IQ), all in one comprehensive solution.

The impact of this patented technology on the world will be significant, especially in the domain of battery-powered applications. For instance, in the case of Apple's iPhone, the improved battery management system will result in more energy-efficient operations. Users will experience extended battery life and reduced energy consumption, enabling them to enjoy the device's features for longer periods.

Real-life examples of how people will benefit from this technology in practice include having an iPhone that lasts longer on a single charge. Users can go about their daily activities without worrying about their battery dying quickly. Whether it be making important calls, browsing the internet, or enjoying multimedia content, this innovation ensures a reliable and lasting battery performance.

It is important to note that, at this stage, the patent remains an invention waiting to be transformed into a market-ready product. While the patent provides a glimpse into Apple's innovative future, there is no guarantee that this specific technology will be implemented in their devices. However, the patent serves as evidence of Apple's relentless pursuit of advancements in battery efficiency and their commitment to enhancing the user experience.

In conclusion, Apple's recent patent for a bandgap circuit with low power consumption demonstrates the company's ongoing efforts to address challenges faced by battery-powered applications. With the potential to revolutionize the battery management system in devices such as the iPhone, this innovation promises extended battery life, reduced energy consumption, and improved user experience. While the future availability of this technology remains uncertain, it serves as a testament to Apple's commitment to pushing the boundaries of technological advancements.

P.S. It is important to note that the patent, with number US20240103557A1, represents an invention that may or may not be introduced as a market-ready product.

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