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Apple wins patents for multi-touch, iPhone design

updated 12:20 pm EDT, Wed May 27, 2009

Multitouch, iPhone patents

Apple has won four new patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office, covering a range of technologies. Among these are ones for riser card housing in the Mac Pro, and a Mac OS-related concept called Computer system with graphical user interface including drawer-like windows. Important however is one for a touchpad surface, covering the multi-touch trackpad in the MacBook Air, and in a minor fashion the iPhone touchscreen.

The patent describes a multi-layered system, comprising two sets of drive traces, one arrangement of sense traces and a spring membrane. All of these are arranged in between a base and an outer "cosmetic layer," such as glass. Recognition of the invention -- credited to Steven Hotelling and Brian Huppi -- could help Apple defend against an influx of copycat devices, although its method is not the only means of creating a multi-touch surface.

Separate yet related is a patent for the iPhone's casing design, highlighting elements like a divided construction and the ports at the top and bottom. Also visible are assorted speakers, buttons and switches, as well as the rough positioning of the camera. Many individuals are credited for the work, though notable inclusions are Apple's lead designer, Jonathan Ive, and the company's CEO, Steve Jobs.

by MacNN Staff



  1. simdude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Zune implications?

    I wonder if this will have any affect on the soon to be released Zune with multi-touch?

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No effect on the Zune HD

    whatsoever which is bound to fail on it's own without needing Apple's help. Well, just kidding, but Microsoft will find a way to work around Apple's patents the same way Palm has with it's Pre. I'd heard the Zune HD will be using some form of tapping for navigation and scaling images. Whatever, it's going to be workaround which will make it less user friendly than Apple's mobile platform.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I thought the current iPhone touch-screens were capacitive which doesn't require "force" unlike palm and others who use cheaper resistive panels than do depend on force. Apple going low-rent again like the lousy TN displays on Macbooks?

  1. Angelo78

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RE: Feathers

    Feathers, I think the top diagram is for the Mackbook Air trackpad which uses force (probably will include all notebooks). The iPhone patents are probably related to external least according to the figures shown.

  1. daltondal

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It deserved.

    iPhone design style is a leader of smartphones.

    'Lenogo iPhone to PC Transfer for Mac', enables you to transfer your music from Apple iPhone to Mac completely and easily.

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