It's been a busy week for Apple's patent activity, with the US Patent and Trademark Office has granting the company 48 patents, and publishing several patent applications including vibration functionality for future iPads, iBooks Author and more.

The design patents won by Apple this week cover the sixth-generation iPod nano, a battery design and an iPhone interface element, plus an iPhone cover plate patent which credits the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs as an inventor.

In total, Apple was granted 48 patents this week, which include the augmented reality patents we reported on yesterday.

The US Patent and Trademark Office also published several Apple patent applications this week, including one that that covers an audio codec chip that could drive a vibrator for the iPad, allowing users to set vibration notification alerts for the tablet like they can for the iPhone, reports Patently Apple.

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Additionally, Apple also applied for patents describing an iPhone protecting mechanism and collaboration system.

The iBooks Author app, Apple's free interactive eBook making software, is also covered one of Apple's patent applications published this week.

See also:

Opinion: Five improvements iBooks Author needs to make

Patent round-up: Apple wins 37 patents, applies for iTunes content selling system, more

iPad 5 patent: inductive Smart Cover contains battery

Samsung tops patent applicants in the EU

Apple patent round-up: 3D OS X, Retina MacBook Pro design, haptic feedback