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Apple wins key patents, reissues old filing

updated 11:35 am EDT, Tue March 25, 2008

Apple clickwheel patent

Apple has today officially been granted several patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office, among them two for some long-standing technologies. Of these the most important is Touch pad for handheld device; while its wording refers broadly to a "pocket sized handheld computing device," it is illustrated specifically with an image of the first/second-generation iPod, which had a manual control wheel with rim-mounted buttons. The patent application is more recent than that player, however, having only been submitted in March of 2006.

Apple has also been granted a patent for a flexible display arm, matched to the lamp-like iMac G4; it was originally submitted in 2001, but was filed again in an alternate version in September of 2006. The patent's design differs from that finally used by Apple, as it is able to coil, thanks to "ball-and-socket assemblies" which create multiple joints. Among those credited with the invention are CEO Steve Jobs and lead designer Jonathan Ive.

An application from 2005, meanwhile, has had to be reissued, due to unspecified improvements to the original. It addresses technology for a multi-touch virtual keyboard, in particular applying standard modifier commands like Shift, Control or Alt to later key presses. It "recognizes simultaneous touchdown of four fingers on, above, or below the home row of keys as a modifier chord," and halts modified typing only once none of the chord fingers are touching. To help mixing capital and lower-case letters, the Shift modifier can be released just temporarily, as need mandates.








by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    so basically...

    ...the processing of patent applications may take significantly longer than the life-cycle of the product they are designed to protect. Am I the only one who finds this a bit odd?

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    No...

    the first Gen iPod had a physical wheel that rotated_ The 2nd Gen visually looked the same - but changed the rotating wheel to a stationary 'touch-pad'_ Which has been in use ever since_ Just updated and developed more thru the years_

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    interesting that MacNN...

    screws up something as simple as the OPTION key being refered to as the Alt key_

    "applying standard modifier commands like Shift, Control or Alt to later key presses. "

    As Mac have OPTIONS keys and PCs have ALT keys_

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    i don;'t think

    that the full-blown touch-sensitive keybokard patent app is refering to iPods_ As this would seem more reasonable to m ake it's way to a future version of their stanard keyboard_

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: interesting

    First, it's iPodNN. Second, the last time I looked (which was 3 seconds ago), my mac has an alt/option key.

    And it's "OPTION keys", not "OPTIONS keys"

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    anyone pick up on

    Anyone else think that the keyboard patent might work out for a large touchscreen interface, ie. the whole 30" display works with touch instead of a mouse, and you can bring up a keyboard to type. Don't forget applicability in touch sensitive notebooks.

    Just a thought.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    ms

    Then why develop for it? I certainly don't see Apple developing scheit for the Zune....

    Um, the Zune doesn't have an SDK. You know, why no one develops apps for the iPod.

    i love the way they come straight out and say about profits. nothing to do with giving public something that they want its just to make $. you gota love micro$oft.

    Yeah, at least they're honest. As opposed to other companies that are all about making money but pretend it's all about the customer.

    As you may know, the macros in the OSX product offerings provided for a number of security headaches for Apple.

    And when MS removes Macro capability from Word, which should bring out screams of joy, they get nothing but complaints over missing features.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Thank you IPodNN !!

    MacNN / iPodNN, this story reminded me to check if any invention disclosures I gave to a former employer ever resulted in patents. After 5 years of checking with no results, I gave up (that was 3 years ago). I just checked today was WAY STOKED when I found out a patent was granted (2 years ago); that is, I'm attributed as being the 'Inventor' anyway.

    So, your articles affect us in lots of ways. Oh, and like Steven P. Jobs really invented the iMac arm? Come on!

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