updated 10:00 pm EDT, Wed October 8, 2008
Apple gets Dock patent
Apple has finally obtained a patent on the Dock - a holder for open or commonly used applications, documents, folders, and more in Mac OS X - according to a new document found by AppleInsider. The patent, titled "User interface for providing consolidation and access," was originally filed on December 20th, 1999, and covers actions such as fade-in rates, icon and cursor positioning, as well as the magnification factor when the cursor hovers over icons present in the dock.
The patent goes on to detail circumstances that inspired the utility of the dock, citing Windows 95's task bar, the clutter involved with multiple windows open, the Control Strip fro Mac OS 9 and before, and other sources.
The Dock has been part of Mac OS X since its inception, and has evolved subtly with each incarnation, ditching pin stripes, and eventually adopting a mirrored polish present in 10.5 Leopard.