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Publication numberUS20070023559 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/273,233
Publication dateFeb 1, 2007
Filing dateNov 14, 2005
Priority dateJul 26, 2005
Publication number11273233, 273233, US 2007/0023559 A1, US 2007/023559 A1, US 20070023559 A1, US 20070023559A1, US 2007023559 A1, US 2007023559A1, US-A1-20070023559, US-A1-2007023559, US2007/0023559A1, US2007/023559A1, US20070023559 A1, US20070023559A1, US2007023559 A1, US2007023559A1
InventorsJames Scapillato, Thomas Kouvelis, Alfred Rotiroti, Barry Yip, Christopher Carani
Original AssigneeJames Scapillato, Thomas Kouvelis, Alfred Rotiroti, Barry Yip, Carani Christopher V
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electronic device case
US 20070023559 A1
Abstract
Certain embodiments of the present invention provide an apparatus for a portable electronic device case including: a sheath portion capable of sheathing a portable electronic device, wherein the sheath portion includes at least one window that allows a user to interact with the portable electronic device; and a cord-winding portion capable of being integrated with the sheath portion, the cord-winding portion capable of receiving a cord portion of an accessory for the portable electronic device, wherein the cord-winding portion is capable of maintaining the cord portion in a substantially stable and a substantially tangle-free disposition, and wherein the user may continue interaction with the portable electronic device while the cord portion is stored in the cord-winding portion. Thus, cord storage encasement of the electronic device, and interaction with electronic devices are achieved in a convenient manner, which simplifies rather than complicates portable electronic device operation.
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Claims(43)
1. An apparatus for a portable electronic device case comprising:
a sheath portion capable of sheathing a portable electronic device, wherein said sheath portion comprises at least one window that allows a user to interact with said portable electronic device; and
a cord-winding portion capable of being integrated with said sheath portion, said cord-winding portion capable of receiving a cord portion of an accessory for said portable electronic device,
wherein said cord-winding portion is capable of maintaining said cord portion in a substantially stable and a substantially tangle-free disposition, and wherein said user may continue interaction with said portable electronic device while said cord portion is stored in said cord-winding portion.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said user may readily retrieve said cord portion stored in said cord-winding portion.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 further including at least one fastening portion capable of facilitating substantially stable and substantially tangle-free disposition of said cord portion by receiving a portion of said accessory.
4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein said fastening portion is integrated into said cord-winding portion.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said cord-winding portion comprises an axial portion.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said cord-winding portion further comprises a guide portion.
7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said window comprises an aperture.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising an opening portion for accommodating insertion and removal of said portable electronic device into said electronic device case.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said portable electronic device comprises at least one of: a digital audio player; a digital video player; a cellular phone; and a personal digital assistant.
10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said accessory comprises headphones.
11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein one of said at least one window allows a user to interact with controls of said portable electronic device.
12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein one of said at least one window allows a user to access at least one of: a data port of said portable electronic device; an input port of said portable electronic device; and an output port of said portable electronic device.
13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said cord-winding portion comprises a winding mechanism.
14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein said winding mechanism is lockable.
15. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein said winding mechanism comprises an automatic retraction mechanism.
16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein said automatic retraction mechanism is lockable.
17. An apparatus for a portable electronic device comprising:
a cord-winding portion capable of being integrated with a shell portion of said portable electronic device, said cord-winding portion capable of receiving a cord portion of an accessory for said portable electronic device,
wherein said cord-winding portion is capable of maintaining said cord portion in a substantially stable and a substantially tangle-free disposition, and wherein said user may continue interaction with said portable electronic device while said cord portion is stored in said cord-winding portion.
18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein said user may readily retrieve said cord portion stored in said cord-winding portion.
19. The apparatus of claim 17 further including at least one fastening portion capable of facilitating substantially stable and substantially tangle-free disposition of said cord portion by restricting a portion of said accessory.
20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein said fastening portion is integrated into said cord-winding portion.
21. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein said cord-winding portion comprises an axial portion.
22. The apparatus of claim 21, wherein said cord-winding portion comprises a guide portion.
23. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein said portable electronic device comprises at least one of: a digital audio player; a digital video player; a cellular phone; and a personal digital assistant.
24. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein said accessory comprises headphones.
25. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein said cord-winding portion comprises a winding mechanism.
26. The apparatus of claim 25, wherein said winding mechanism is lockable.
27. The apparatus of claim 25, wherein said winding mechanism comprises an automatic retraction mechanism.
28. The apparatus of claim 27, wherein said automatic retraction mechanism is lockable.
29. An apparatus for a portable electronic device case comprising:
a sheath portion capable of sheathing a portable electronic device, an opening portion for accommodating insertion and removal of said portable electronic device into said electronic device case,
a cord-winding portion capable of being integrated with said sheath portion, said cord-winding portion capable of receiving a cord portion of an accessory for said portable electronic device,
wherein said cord-winding portion is capable of maintaining said cord portion in a substantially stable and a substantially tangle-free disposition, and
at least one fastening portion capable of facilitating substantially stable and substantially tangle-free disposition of said cord portion by receiving a portion of said accessory.
30. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein said user may readily retrieve said cord portion stored in said cord-winding portion.
31. The apparatus of claim 29 where said at least one fastening portion is comprised of at least one notched portion.
32. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein said cord-winding portion further comprises a guide portion.
33. The apparatus of claim 31, wherein said fastening portion is integrated into said guide portion.
34. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein said cord-winding portion comprises an axial portion.
35. The apparatus of claim 34, wherein said cord-winding portion further comprises a guide portion.
36. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein said sheath portion further comprises at least one window.
37. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein said portable electronic device comprises at least one of: a digital audio player; a digital video player; a cellular phone; and a personal digital assistant.
38. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein said accessory comprises headphones.
39. The apparatus of claim 36, wherein one of said at least one window allows a user to access at least one of: a data port of said portable electronic device; an input port of said portable electronic device; and an output port of said portable electronic device.
40. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein said cord-winding portion comprises a winding mechanism.
41. The apparatus of claim 40, wherein said winding mechanism is lockable.
42. The apparatus of claim 40 wherein said winding mechanism comprises an automatic retraction mechanism.
43. The apparatus of claim 42, wherein said automatic retraction mechanism is lockable.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    Embodiments of the present application relate generally to an electronic device case. Particularly, certain embodiments relate to a portable electronic device case capable of accommodating an electronic cord.
  • [0002]
    In recent years, portable electronic devices have proliferated in terms of both quantity and variety. There are numerous portable electronic devices available to consumers, a few of which include cellular phones, handheld computers, personal digital assistants (“PDA”), digital audio players, digital MP3 players, digital cameras, digital video recorders, digital video players, global positioning satellite (“GPS”) devices, navigation devices, portable video players (“PVP”), handheld video game consoles, and the like. Of course, as data types (such as audio, video, and text) become integrated, portable electronic devices may include aspects of various traditional electronic devices. For example, a cellular phone may include aspects of digital audio players, digital video players, and digital cameras, as well as aspects of a cellular phone.
  • [0003]
    Portable electronic devices may interface with accessories having cords. Accessories having cords for portable electronic devices are numerous, and include electronic-type accessories and non-electronic-type accessories. A few examples of electronic-type accessories include headphones, headsets, microphones, data transfer cables (e.g. universal serial bus, RS-232, or fire-wire), speakers, speaker cables, communication cables, power cables, synchronization cables, and/or the like. Examples of non-electronic-type accessories may include neck straps, wrist straps, necklaces, arm straps, and/or the like. Accessories having cords may either be required for normal operations, or may be optional. For example, many portable electronic devices may interface with headphones. On one hand, if the portable electronic device, such as a digital audio player, does not have a built-in speaker, the headphones may be required for a user to listen to an audio signal generated by the portable electronic device. On the other hand, if the portable electronic device, such as a cell phone, has built-in speaker, the headphones may be an optional accessory.
  • [0004]
    When a user is not in immediate need of an accessory with a cord, it may be useful for the user to store the accessory in an organized, and readily available fashion. Similarly, when a user needs only a portion of an accessory with a cord, it may be useful for the user to have the rest of the accessory disposed in an organized, readily-available fashion. As an example, a user of a digital audio player may wish to store headphones when the player is not in use, yet the user may wish for the headphones to be readily available. Further, when using the digital audio player, the user may wish to have only a portion of the headphones freely available for use, and to have the remaining portions of the headphones disposed in an organized and readily available fashion. By limiting slack in a cord portion, the cord may be less likely to be snagged, which may lead to injury to the device, the user, or otherwise.
  • [0005]
    Cases for portable electronic devices may be desirable for a variety of reasons. One advantage of a case may be that once the device is sheathed in the case, the device and the case may become integrated. Some cases for portable electronic devices may provide one or more pouches for storing cords. However, a pouch may tend to store cords in a relatively unstable manner, because the cord may be able to substantially move within the pouch. Such movement may lead to entanglement. Additionally, pouches may be difficult to clean. Furthermore, pouches may not promote a user to store the cord in an organized manner. For example, a pouch may encourage a user to stuff an accessory having a cord in an unorganized manner into the pouch, thereby increasing the risk of entanglement and premature failure of the accessory.
  • [0006]
    There are winding devices which retract cords into a casing, such as Targus® retractable cables/cords, Zip-Linq™ retractable cables/cords, and ZipKORD™ retractable cables/cords. These devices, however, are not integrated into either the case or the device. Thus these devices require the user to manage an additional accessory—a problem which the current invention seeks to remedy. These devices create additional problems in that they may be bulky, clumsy, and encourage entanglement. Furthermore, such devices may not be easily stored, because they must be detached from the electronic device and stowed in an additional location that has not been provided. In the end, use of such devices may complicate, rather than simplify use of an electronic device.
  • [0007]
    Thus, there is a need for cord storage that is capable of being integrated with a portable electronic device. For example, there is a need for cord storage that is directly integrated with a portable electronic device. Further there is a need for cord storage that is integrated with a case, which in turn is integrated with a portable electronic device. Additionally, there is a need for cord storage that is relatively stable, and promotes tangle-free storage and removal of the cord. Furthermore, there is a need for cord storage that is readily accessible to a user, and simplifies, rather than complicates, portable electronic device operation.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    Certain embodiments of the present invention provide an apparatus for a portable electronic device case including: a sheath portion capable of sheathing a portable electronic device, wherein the sheath portion includes at least one window that allows a user to interact with the portable electronic device; and a cord-winding portion capable of being integrated with the sheath portion, the cord-winding portion capable of receiving a cord portion of an accessory for the portable electronic device, wherein the cord-winding portion is capable of maintaining the cord portion in a substantially stable and a substantially tangle-free disposition, and wherein the user may continue interaction with the portable electronic device while the cord portion is stored in the cord-winding portion. In an embodiment, the user may readily retrieve the cord portion stored in the cord-winding portion. In an embodiment, the apparatus further includes at least one fastening portion capable of facilitating substantially stable and substantially tangle-free disposition of the cord portion by receiving a portion of the accessory. In an embodiment, the fastening portion is integrated into the cord-winding portion. In an embodiment, the cord-winding portion includes an axial portion. In an embodiment, the cord-winding portion further includes a guide portion. In an embodiment, the window includes an aperture. In an embodiment, the apparatus further includes an opening portion for accommodating insertion and removal of the portable electronic device into the electronic device case. In an embodiment, the portable electronic device includes at least one of: a digital audio player; a digital video player; a cellular phone; and a personal digital assistant. In an embodiment, the accessory includes headphones. In an embodiment, one of the at least one window allows a user to interact with controls of the portable electronic device. In an embodiment, one of the at least one window allows a user to access at least one of: a data port of the portable electronic device; an input port of the portable electronic device; and an output port of the portable electronic device. In an embodiment, the cord-winding portion includes a winding mechanism. In an embodiment, the winding mechanism is lockable. In an embodiment, the winding mechanism includes an automatic retraction mechanism. In an embodiment, the automatic retraction mechanism is lockable.
  • [0009]
    Certain embodiments of the present invention provide an apparatus for a portable electronic device including: a cord-winding portion capable of being integrated with a shell portion of the portable electronic device, the cord-winding portion capable of receiving a cord portion of an accessory for the portable electronic device, wherein the cord-winding portion is capable of maintaining the cord portion in a substantially stable and a substantially tangle-free disposition, and wherein the user may continue interaction with the portable electronic device while the cord portion is stored in the cord-winding portion. In an embodiment, the user may readily retrieve the cord portion stored in the cord-winding portion. In an embodiment, the apparatus further includes at least one fastening portion capable of facilitating substantially stable and substantially tangle-free disposition of the cord portion by restricting a portion of the accessory. In an embodiment, the fastening portion is integrated into the cord-winding portion. In an embodiment, the cord-winding portion includes an axial portion. In an embodiment, the cord-winding portion includes a guide portion. In an embodiment, the portable electronic device includes at least one of: a digital audio player; a digital video player; a cellular phone; and a personal digital assistant. In an embodiment, the accessory includes headphones. In an embodiment, the cord-winding portion includes a winding mechanism. In an embodiment, the winding mechanism is lockable. In an embodiment, the winding mechanism includes an automatic retraction mechanism. In an embodiment, the automatic retraction mechanism is lockable.
  • [0010]
    Certain embodiments of the present invention provide an apparatus for a portable electronic device case including: a sheath portion capable of sheathing a portable electronic device, an opening portion for accommodating insertion and removal of the portable electronic device into the electronic device case, a cord-winding portion capable of being integrated with the sheath portion, the cord-winding portion capable of receiving a cord portion of an accessory for the portable electronic device, wherein the cord-winding portion is capable of maintaining the cord portion in a substantially stable and a substantially tangle-free disposition, and at least one fastening portion capable of facilitating substantially stable and substantially tangle-free disposition of the cord portion by receiving a portion of the accessory. In an embodiment, the user may readily retrieve the cord portion stored in the cord-winding portion. In an embodiment, the at least one fastening portion is included of at least one notched portion. In an embodiment, the cord-winding portion further includes a guide portion. In an embodiment, the fastening portion is integrated into the guide portion. In an embodiment, the cord-winding portion includes an axial portion. In an embodiment, the sheath portion further includes at least one window. In an embodiment, the portable electronic device includes at least one of: a digital audio player; a digital video player; a cellular phone; and a personal digital assistant. In an embodiment, the accessory includes headphones. In an embodiment, one of the at least one window allows a user to access at least one of: a data port of the portable electronic device; an input port of the portable electronic device; and an output port of the portable electronic device. In an embodiment, the cord-winding portion includes a winding mechanism. In an embodiment, the winding mechanism is lockable. In an embodiment, the winding mechanism includes an automatic retraction mechanism. In an embodiment, the automatic retraction mechanism is lockable.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    FIG. 1 shows a front right perspective view of an electronic device case according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 2 shows a front right perspective view of an electronic device case according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3 shows back left perspective view of an electronic device case according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 4 shows a left side elevation view of an electronic device case according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 5 shows an arrangement of axial portions for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 6 shows an arrangement of axial portions for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 7 shows an arrangement of axial portions for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 8 shows an arrangement of axial portions for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 9 shows a guide portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 10 shows a guide portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 11 shows a guide portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 12 shows a guide portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 13 shows a guide portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 14 shows a guide portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 15 shows a guide portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 16 shows a guide portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 17 shows a guide portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 18 shows a guide portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 19 shows a cord-winding portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 20 shows a cord-winding portion configuration for an electronic device case in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0031]
    The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of certain embodiments of the present application, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, certain embodiments are shown in the drawings. It should be understood, however, that the present invention is not limited to the arrangements and instrumentality shown in the attached drawings. There are a variety of ornamental designs which can achieve the function of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0032]
    FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 4 show an electronic device case 100 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 1 shows a front right perspective view of an electronic device case 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 shows a front right perspective view of an electronic device case 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3 shows back left perspective view of an electronic device case 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 4 shows a left side elevation view of an electronic device case 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0033]
    An electronic device case 100 may include a sheath portion 102, at least one window 120, an opening portion 108, a cord-winding portion, 104, and a fastening portion 106, or a mounting clip (not shown). Some of these portions, such as the opening portion 108 and the fastening portion 106 may be optional.
  • [0034]
    A sheath portion 102 may be formed from various materials including fabrics, plastics, metals, and/or the like. The material(s) used may either be flexible or rigid, or some combination thereof. The sheath portion 102 may also be comprised of a combination of a variety of materials. The material(s) used may either be synthetic, natural, or some combination thereof. For example, a sheath portion 102 may be formed from leather. The sheath need not substantially envelope or enclose the entire device; there can be openings in the sheath portion. Furthermore, a sheath portion 102 may also include portions that promote other aspects of the electronic device case 100. For example, a sheath portion may include a mating fastener capable of receiving an opposite sex fastener on the opening portion 108. In this manner, the opening portion 108 may be fastenable to the sheath portion 102.
  • [0035]
    A window 120 may be provided to enable a user to interact with a portable electronic device, for example. Through one or more windows 120, a user may be able to receive information from and/or communicate information to a portable electronic device, and may be able to manipulate controls on the device. A window 120 may also be provided to allow data port access, or cable access to a portable electronic device, for example. A window 120 may be provided to allow access to an input port, such as a data port, a power cable, or a microphone port of the device. A window 120 may be provided to allow access to an output port, such as a headphone jack, for example. As a further example, a window 120 may be provided to allow a user to access a power source of a portable electronic device, such as battery(s) or fuel cell(s), for example. As various portable electronic devices have various configurations and features, so too may a designer prefer a variety of corresponding arrangements of one or more windows 120.
  • [0036]
    A window 120 may include an aperture or opening, for example. A window 120 may also include a material capable of passing at least some light. For example, a window 120 may include a transparent, translucent, or partially opaque material. A window 120 may include a combination of materials and/or apertures. For example, a window 120 may have a transparent material for covering a display of a portable electronic device, and the window 120 may also have apertures for providing direct contact access to controls of the device. A window 120 may be openable and closeable, for example. A window 120 may have a flap that is moveable or fastenable to the sheath 102, for example.
  • [0037]
    An opening portion 108 may enable a user to insert and/or remove an electronic device into the electronic device case 100, for example. While numerous configurations are conceivable for an opening portion 108, one possible arrangement may be for the opening portion 108 to include at least one flap. The flap may be connectable on one end to the sheath 102. In an embodiment, the flap is the same material as the sheath 102, and is an extension of the sheath 102. The other end of the flap may have a fastener, such as a snap, hook and loop (e.g. VELCRO®), and/or the like. The fastenable end of the flap may be fastenable to the sheath 102. As an alternative arrangements, both ends of the flap may be fastenable to the sheath 102. As another arrangement, the flap may be insertable into a receiving portion on the sheath 102, such as a slot or loop.
  • [0038]
    A fastening portion 106 may include any of a variety of means capable of receiving a portion of an accessory for storage. Examples of fastening portions 106 may include fasteners, such as clips, hook and loop fasteners (e.g. VELCRO®), magnets, adhesive, latches, snaps, and/or the like. For example, a fastening portion 106 may be capable of receiving a cord portion of an accessory. A fastening portion 106 may, as another example, be capable of receiving an earpiece portion of a headphone. A fastening portion may be located on the sheath 102, or on the cord-winding portion 104, for example. A fastening portion 106 may be formed by plastic or metal, for example, in such a manner that the fastening portion 106 has a spring-like quality that facilitates clipping. A fastening portion 106 may also include a notched portion capable of receiving and substantially stably storing an accessory, such as an accessory having a cord, for example.
  • [0039]
    A cord-winding portion 104 may include a guide portion 110 and an axial portion 112, as can be seen in FIG. 4. The axial portion 112 may be integratable with the sheath portion 102, for example. The axial portion 112 may be formed from the same material (e.g. plastic) as the sheath portion 102, or may be otherwise connected to the sheath portion 102. The axial portion 112 may also be removably attachable with the sheath portion 102, through fasteners, gums, glues, epoxies, and/or the like. The cord-winding portion 104 may be on the interior or exterior of a case 100 or shell or housing of the portable electronic device itself, for example. The cord-winding portion may be embedded within the case, or within the shell or housing of the portable electronic device itself, for example. As an illustrative example, a cord-winding portion 104 may be substantially housed by the shell or housing of the portable electronic device. As another illustrative example, a cord-winding portion 104 may be substantially sheathed by case 100.
  • [0040]
    The axial portion 112 may be solid or hollowed. The axial portion 112 may be arranged for allowing a user to store an accessory. For example, the axial portion 112 may be arranged to receive an accessory having a cord, such as headphones, or a windable strap. The cord portion of an accessory may be rotatably windable around the axial portion 112. The axial portion 112 may include one or more grooves that may assist in receiving an accessory, such as an accessory having a cord, for example. In an embodiment, an axial portion 112 may include a portable electronic device itself. For example, the device may have a groove on its perimeter for receiving a cord portion of an accessory.
  • [0041]
    Once received for storage by the axial portion 112, an accessory, such as an accessory having a cord, may remain in a substantially stable and substantially tangle-free disposition. Substantially stable and substantially tangle-free disposition may be facilitated by other portions of the case 100, such as a fastening portion 106 and a guide portion 110. A user may, with relative ease, retrieve either the entire accessory or only a portion thereof by removing it from the axial portion 112. For example, a user may desire to have a particular amount of headphone cord available, and the user may correspondingly unwind the needed portion of headphone cord from the axial portion 112. To regulate slack, the user may wish to attach a portion of the cord to a fastening portion 106.
  • [0042]
    The axial portion 112 may have a consistent dimension along a radial direction, or may be tapered, for example. An axial portion 112 that is tapered may assist in receipt of an accessory, such as an accessory having a cord, for example. An axial portion 112 may be generally rounded, and/or may have one or more edges, such as a rectangular shape or any other type of polygon (e.g. octagonal shape), for example. Additionally, an axial portion 112 may be substantially straight in an axial direction, or an axial portion 112 in an axial direction may be curved, bent, zigzagged, looped, and/or the like.
  • [0043]
    As shown in FIGS. 5-8, there may be a variety of arrangements for one or more axial portions 112. For example, there may be two, three, or four axial portions 112, as shown in FIGS. 5-7. Furthermore, axial portions 112 may be arrangeable with respect to the sheath 102, and other axial portions 112. For example, as shown in FIG. 8, axial portions 112 may be arranged on a lateral portion of the sheath 102. As described above, a cord portion of an accessory may be rotatably, or otherwise windable around one or more of the axial portions 112. For example, a cord portion of an accessory may be wound into a figure eight pattern around two axial portions 112.
  • [0044]
    As shown in FIGS. 19-20, an axial portion 112 may be rotatable. For example, the entire axial portion 112 may be rotatable with respect to the case 100. Also, the axial portion 112 may be rotatable with respect to itself—i.e. a portion may be rotatable, and a portion may be static. The axial portion may be rotatable to facilitate removal of an accessory, as discussed in greater detail below. The rotation motion of the axial portion 112 may operate in conjunction with a spring. In this manner, an axial portion 112 may have an automatic winding and/or unwinding aspect, as facilitated by a spring.
  • [0045]
    Turning back to FIGS. 1-4, at least one guide portion 110 may optionally be attachable, connectable, and/or fastenable to the axial portion(s) 112. A guide portion 110 may facilitate substantially stable and substantially tangle-free storage of an accessory, such as an accessory having a cord, for example. The guide portion 110 may promote a user to wind a cord portion of an accessory around an axial portion 112 in a consistent manner. For example, the space between the guide portion 110 and the sheath 102 may be sufficiently narrow such that only one cord width may fit between the guide portion 110 and the sheath 102 at a time. This provides a desired sleek design and may promote substantially tangle-free storage. The guide portion 110 may also prevent a stored accessory from unintentionally slipping off the axial portion 112 along an axial direction.
  • [0046]
    As shown in FIGS. 7-18, a variety of guide portion 110 shapes and configurations are possible. Examples of cases with a singular shield-type guide portion 110 are shown in FIGS. 3, and 9-18. For example, the guide portion 110 may be rounded (FIG. 3), triangular (FIGS. 9-10), rectangular (FIGS. 11-12), octagonal (FIGS. 13-14), hexagonal (FIGS. 15-16), and/or the like. FIGS. 17-18 show a guide portion 110 incorporating fastening portion(s) 106 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. While all of these shield-type examples achieve a similar overall visual impression, there are numerous other possible designs.
  • [0047]
    As shown in FIG. 17, one or more fastening portions 106 may be integrally formed or otherwise connected or fastened with the guide portion 110. As shown in FIG. 17, the fastening portions 106 may have a narrow notch that allows a portion of an accessory, such as a cord portion, to pass through upon specific application of force. For example, a cord portion of an accessory may be relatively compressible along a radial dimension, and when pushed, may fit through the notched portion. Once past the narrowest part of the notched portion, the cord may expand such that it may not readily pass again through the notched portion without the specific application of force, for example. A notched portion may also be designed such that it receives other parts of the accessory, such as earpieces.
  • [0048]
    Turning to FIGS. 19-20, a guide portion 110 may also be rotatable with respect to the sheath 102. For example, a guide portion 110 may be rotatable with respect to a static axial portion 112. As another example, a portion of the axial portion 112 may be rotatable (either with respect to the sheath 102 or with respect to itself), causing the attached guide portion 110 to be rotatable. As another example, a portion of the guide portion 110 may be rotatable with respect to the other portion of the guide portion 110. As seen in FIG. 19, when the guide portions 110 are in a particular position, an accessory having a cord may be storable in a substantially stable and tangle-free disposition. Turning to FIG. 20, the guide portions 110 may be rotatable in either a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion to facilitate rapid retrieval and storage of an accessory having a cord.
  • [0049]
    A cord-winding portion 104 may include a winding mechanism. A winding mechanism may be a manually driven mechanism, or may be an automatic mechanism. For example, a winding mechanism may be a spring-loaded device, similar to a tape measure. A winding mechanism may also be a manually driven mechanism, such as, for example, a spool having a means for driving the rotation of the spool—e.g. a lever or indentation wheel. The winding mechanism may also have a separate casing for receiving a cord portion. Furthermore, the winding mechanism may be lockable so as not to permit unwinding of the cord.
  • [0050]
    A cord-winding portion 104 may also be integratable directly with a shell or housing of a portable electronic device in a similar manner as shown in FIGS. 1-20, and as discussed above. In other words, the cord-winding portion 104 may be provided as a portion of and/or integrated into the portable electronic device, thereby reducing the need for a case. Here the case is the shell or housing that encases the interior component of the electronic device. For example, a cord-winding portion 104 may be attachable directly to the shell of a portable electronic device. Furthermore, a cord-winding portion 104 may be rotatable with respect to the attached shell of the portable electronic device. Aside from integrating a cord-winding portion 104 with the shell of a portable electronic device (rather than with sheath 102), all other aspects of cord-winding portion 104 may be similar as discussed in this application. When the cord-winding portion 104 is part of the shell or housing of the portable electronic device itself, said device can me designed such that input and output ports are positioned within, at, or near the cord-winding portion.
  • [0051]
    Case 100 may also include a mounting clip, such as a belt clip, a pants clip, stand clip, and/or the like. A mounting clip may be used for mounting the case 100 and/or a portable electronic device integrated with the case 100 to external structure, such as clothing of a human, for example. The mounting clip may also be integratable into the shell or housing of a portable electronic device. A mounting clip may be a one-piece device, or may include one or more moving parts connectable together. A mounting clip may include a spring (either an external part, or due a material chosen, such as plastic having a memory and sufficient elasticity).
  • [0052]
    The case 100 may be adaptable for nesting, docking, and/or the like. For example, an opening portion 108 may be configured to allow docking through a lower portion of the case to a docking station. For example, case 100 may be adapted by allowing mounting structure and/ communications structure of a portable electronic device to mate with complementary structure of a docking station. As another example case 100 may be adaptable for nesting within external structure, such as mounting hardware for use, for example, in an automobile. Nesting, docking, and/or the like may enable external powering and electronic communications with the portable electronic device, as well as restriction of movement and/or stability of the portable electronic device.
  • [0053]
    The case 100 may also include a material with increased coefficient of friction so as to prevent slipping. For example, a rubber-like material may be included in various locations on a case 100 to encourage stability of the case 100 and integrated portable electronic device when the case 100 is placed on an external surface, such as the dashboard of an automobile, for example.
  • [0054]
    The case 100 may also include a pouch for storage. Accessories of a portable electronic device may be stored and/or retrieved from a pouch, for example. As an illustrative example, a radio transmitter accessory may be stored and/or retrieved from a pouch.
  • [0055]
    The following is an illustrative example of how case 100 may operate. A user listens to a portable digital audio player (e.g. IPOD®) that is sheathed by case 100. The user increases the volume on the portable digital audio player through a window 120. The user listens to the music through headphones having a cord. After a song is finished, the user decides to stop listening, and to store the headphones. The user accesses the rear panel of the sheath 102, and finds the cord-winding portion 104. The user winds the cord around the axial portion 112 of the cord-winding portion 104. The guide portion assists in retaining the cord in a stable and tangle-free disposition, and from coming off of the axial portion 112. The user then inserts the earpieces of the headphones into fastening portions 106. In this manner, the cord of the headphones is stored in a substantially stable and substantially tangle-free disposition. At the same time, the user may still interact with the digital audio player through the front of the device. When the user is ready to listen to music through the headphones again, the user removes the earpieces from the fastening portions 106, and uncoils the cord from the axial portion 112.
  • [0056]
    Thus, embodiments of the present application provide cord storage that is capable of being integrated with a portable electronic device. Additionally, embodiments of the present application provide cord storage that is relatively stable, and promotes tangle-free storage and removal of the cord. Moreover, embodiments of the present application provide cord storage that is readily accessible to a user, and simplifies, rather than complicates, portable electronic device operation.
  • [0057]
    While the invention has been described with reference to certain embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from its scope. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification242/400.1, 242/405.1, 242/402
International ClassificationB65H75/40
Cooperative ClassificationH02G11/02, B65H75/28, B65H75/36
European ClassificationH02G11/02, B65H75/36, B65H75/28