updated 12:20 pm EDT, Thu April 3, 2008
Gaming, iPhone patents
Several new Apple patent applications have today been published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Three of these are connected to the iPhone and the iPod touch; of the group, one describes the ability to rearrange the Home screen, while another documents the unique touchscreen keyboard that displays in functions such as writing e-mail. More unique is a patent relating to "episodic" gaming, in which each title is merely a part of a greater whole. This concept is seen most often in Mac and PC games, such as Valve's Half-Life 2.
The proposed patent mainly covers a means of marketing episodic games, by detecting what a player already owns and has already played, and telling them that more episodes are available. Because the technology would have to interact with a "game episode commerce service," this would appear to imply notification either through iTunes, or via a direct Internet connection.
Remaining patents address online stores. While one covers Apple's existing review system, another would provide an advanced recommendation system, designed to remedy confusion on shopping websites. In general, visitors must research products themselves in order to learn which ones are useful or compatible with each other; the new site design would recommend these things while browsing, as submitted by members of an online community.