Apple had 25 patents in space economy during Q1 2024. Apple Inc’s patents filed in Q1 2024 focus on enhancing communications in non-terrestrial networks (NTN) without relying on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). The inventions include mechanisms for scheduling uplink and downlink transmissions, determining transmission frequencies, and indicating transmission gaps and repetitions for user equipment (UE) in NTN. Additionally, the patents cover methods for maintaining reliable communications by utilizing multi-beam coverage from multiple communication nodes, even when a beam from a primary communication node is non-functional. GlobalData’s report on Apple gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

Apple grant share with space economy as a theme is 8% in Q1 2024. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Recent Patents

Application: Enhanced machine type communications (MTC) for non-terrestrial networks (NTN) (Patent ID: US20240057002A1)

The patent filed by Apple Inc. describes an apparatus and methods to enhance communications for NTN, where a base station (BS) schedules uplink and downlink transmissions in response to requests from user equipment (UE) using specific subframes. The processor in the BS determines a timing advance (TA) to align the downlink transmission with the uplink transmission, blocking specific subframes to optimize communication. The uplink and downlink transmissions are facilitated via non-terrestrial equipment, improving efficiency and reliability in communication.

Additionally, the patent includes claims related to the calculation and updating of TA based on UE location, serving satellite location, and BS location. The UE reports TA-related information to the BS, with criteria for updating TA established to ensure efficient communication. The apparatus in the UE is designed to determine TA, report to the BS, and transmit relevant information only when specific criteria are met, enhancing the overall communication process between the UE and the BS. These innovations aim to optimize communication processes in NTN systems, ensuring seamless and reliable data transmission.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.