updated 04:50 pm EDT, Wed April 7, 2010
Key concepts involve Cover Flow, multi-touch UIs
Apple has won the rights to an unusually large collection of patents, 16 in total, submitted through the US Patent and Trademark Office. While some are less significant than others, several cover key aspects of Apple technology. In the latter category are two documenting the multi-touch interfaces of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. One patent addresses a virtual keyboard concept, while the second describes a means of error correction for a multi-touch surface.
Another patent depicts Cover Flow, the album browsing interface Apple acquired several years ago, which can now be found in iTunes and on every Apple handheld except for the iPad and iPod shuffle. The company has also laid claim to the design of the MacBook Air SuperDrive add-on, and elements of iDVD, the disc authoring tool installed on every Mac. An iChat patent depicts handling of video conferencing, in particular the app's underlying architecture.
Apple is embroiled in multiple legal battles related to patents and its handheld devices. The most prominent of these may be a case against HTC, which could see the Taiwanese phone maker's devices blocked from entry into the US. Apple's real target however is believed to be Google and its Android operating system, which is used on several HTC-built challengers to the iPhone including the Hero and Nexus One.