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Apple's multifunction handheld patent

updated 11:00 am EDT, Thu September 7, 2006

Apple phone patent

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office today published Apple's patent application titled "Multi-functional hand-held device," depicting a cell phone capable of functioning in multiple modes. The front of the multifunciton handhel in Apple's new patent is described entirely as a touchscreen, with ports for power and data communications likely residing on the bottom of the device. The sides are to remain button free to prevent accidental activation, while the top might well house power and hold switches. The document was originally filed in March of 2006, and likely holds clues to Apple's upcoming special event scheduled for September 12th, according to MacNN Patent Blogger Neo. Industry watchers believe the company is set to unveil a new full-length movie service via its iTunes Music Store, and that the widely rumored "iPhone" will make its debut along with a revamped widescreen video iPod. The patent describes an electronic device that can function as a cell phone, music player, video player, game player, camera, GPS receiver, "hand top," and a remote control as well as describes the device functioning in multiple modes with the potential of a changing user interface.

by MacNN Staff




  1. ThrustinJ

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iChat / Skype built in

    I would really love for this to have Skype operability (wireless would be a huge bonus).

    I don't think Apple will do a cellular 3G phone because that would really limit there audience to one carrier. Apple is all about not leaving anyone out (just leaving catches and functions out).

    So here's to a wireless, iTunes/iPhoto/iChat/Skype phone with USB 2.0 all built-in, ready to go on any computer Mac or Windows. Listen to music, show pictures (or presentations), and make VIOP calls.


  1. e2Sync

    Joined: Dec 1969


    3g? Limiting?

    What planet do you live on? On earth the whole globe is on or switching to 3G.

  1. srmoll

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I can't see it ...

    ... happening yet. Movie store, yes. iPhone, no I don't believe it. There hasn't been enough rumours out yet, for me to believe this is really happening. Why? because for it to be marketable, they would have had to engage the mobile phone network providers, and that represents alot of people that would potentially know about any moves by Apple to move into the mobile phone market. Globally this would hundreds of people, of not thousands, so where is the gossip? Where are the sneaked out camera phone pictures of the proposed iPhone? Where are the rumours about which mobile phone networks are going to market the phone?

    It may be coming, but not yet.

  1. scottiB

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It looks just like the Zune...


  1. Titanium Man

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's not about the world

    "What planet do you live on? On earth the whole globe is on or switching to 3G."

    3G is actually a bunch of competing technologies, just like the current US cell environment is a patchwork of incompatible networks. Apple can't support all of the 3G systems, and picking any one would limit them to only a few carriers in the US.

    OTOH, Apple really isn't about being all-inclusive. They've gone their own way more times than not.

  1. zl9600

    Joined: Dec 1969


    who needs carriers

    phones get released all the time without the identification of a carrier, people.

    just go to and see how that works. samsung, lg, whomever--they all like to release their electronics in a big splash wihtout talking to the carriers first--they just don't get the anticipation that apple does.

    for my own desires, i have a walkman phone from sony ericsson that i love--for a phone (i don't even have one mp3 on it). i use my nano for music. i personally am not sure i want to combine the two.

    but maybe that's because i cannot find a device that looks cool enough to carry around as both.

    i imagine though, that with the right functionality and simplicity without turning into the freakin swiss army knife all the techno goobs cry about every time (resulting in the zzzz-ZUNE), this could be a cool device one that only apple could do.

    as long as the newton people aren't back in charge :)

  1. Gepard

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I want Newton. Newton is still the best device as far as functionality, though it is a history now.

  1. zac4mac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Newton redux

    I've got 2 Newtons on my desk at work - an MP120 and a 2100. The 120 is an alarm clock and I use the 2100 to do all sorts of conversions. I have a Dell Axim that is a useful PDA(doubles as a card reader to get digital photos into my POS Dell on my desk)

    Back on topic - make a small(5G-60GB size, PDA-Music-video-phone that actually works and I'll get one or two...

  1. jayparry

    Joined: Dec 1969



    you guys are just setting yourselves up for disappointment. all these rumors and when they 'ONLY' come out with an itunes movie store and ipod video you guys are going to be all upset and apple stock is going to go down.

  1. MacnnGregor

    Joined: Dec 1969


    March to Sept?

    That seems pretty fast for a patent application to go to announcement. I assume Apple will patent every hardware and software functionality it can, but it seems that it could only practically produce devices like iPods that may eventually reach that level of integration.

    I sure hope that Apple changes the playing field from cell phones that do everything to devices that integrate communication and computing services. In the end form based on function is what Apple does best and the cell phone is not the best.

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