The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of thirteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our last granted patent report of the day we primarily focus on one of Apple's original iPhone patents that relate to editing file or file folder lists easily. Other granted patents issued today cover the technology behind Apple's second generation iPod Shuffle and how the iPhone was redesigned after 2007 so that it could double as an external hard drive.
Apple Wins another Original iPhone Related Patent
Apple has been granted another original touchscreen related patent that Apple's legal team will now be able to use in future legal cases. Apple's abstract states that the patent is about a computer-implemented method for displaying and managing lists on a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display includes displaying a list of items, detecting a finger contact on a moving-affordance icon, detecting movement of the finger contact on the touch screen display, and in response to detecting the movement of the finger contact, moving the moving-affordance icon and the corresponding item in the list in accordance with the movement of the finger contact. In some embodiments, at least some of the items have corresponding moving-affordance icons. Simply put, it's about editing lists on an iOS device.
In order to understand the poor state of smartphone interfaces prior to the arrival of the iPhone in 2007, Apple reminds us of a few points in their patent background that the Androiders of this this world should remember:
As portable electronic devices become more compact, and the number of functions performed by a given device increases, it has become a significant challenge to design a user interface that allows users to easily interact with a multifunction device. This challenge is particularly significant for handheld portable devices, which have much smaller screens than desktop or laptop computers. This situation is unfortunate because the user interface is the gateway through which users receive not only content but also responses to user actions or behaviors, including user attempts to access a device's features, tools, and functions.
Some portable communication devices (e.g., mobile telephones, sometimes called mobile phones, cell phones, cellular telephones, and the like) have resorted to adding more pushbuttons, increasing the density of push buttons, overloading the functions of pushbuttons, or using complex menu systems to allow a user to access, store and manipulate data. These conventional user interfaces often result in complicated key sequences and menu hierarchies that must be memorized by the user.
Many conventional user interfaces, such as those that include physical pushbuttons, are also inflexible. This is unfortunate because it may prevent a user interface from being configured and/or adapted by either an application running on the portable device or by users. When coupled with the time consuming requirement to memorize multiple key sequences and menu hierarchies, and the difficulty in activating a desired pushbutton, such inflexibility is frustrating to most users.
Furthermore, portable communication devices with touch screens typically include a stylus for manipulating and selecting items on the touch screen itself. The styluses are typically separate from the device and are usually stored in the device within a compartment built to hold the stylus. Because such devices are designed to read the precise pinpoint contact of the stylus (when a user makes a selection on the touch screen with the stylus), making selections on the touch screen of the device without a stylus, for example, with a user's finger, can prove to be somewhat difficult.
Accordingly, there is a need for portable multifunction devices with more transparent and intuitive user interfaces for digital (finger) selection and manipulation of selected items on a touch screen display that are easy to use, configure, and/or adapt.
Apple's patent FIG. 5F illustrates an exemplary user interface for displaying and managing favorite contacts (on an iPhone). The figure on the right is a screenshot of an editing screen found a current iPod touch for the sake of helping current users identify with this patent feature.
Apple's patent FIG. 6A illustrates a flow diagram of processes for displaying and managing lists (on an iPhone).
Apple's First Claim: A method, comprising: at a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display: displaying a list of items on the touch screen display; while displaying the list of items, detecting a gesture on the touch screen display to initiate an edit mode; in response to detecting the gesture to initiate the edit mode: maintaining display of the list, and displaying separate moving-affordance icons and deletion icons for each corresponding item in the list; detecting a contact on a moving-affordance icon; detecting movement of the contact while the contact is on the moving-affordance icon; in response to detecting the movement of the contact while the contact is on the moving-affordance icon, moving the moving-affordance icon and the corresponding item in the list in accordance with the movement of the contact; detecting a break of the contact on the touch screen display at a break location on the touch screen display; in response to detecting the break, placing the corresponding item in the list at a position corresponding to the break location on the touch screen display; detecting a gesture on a deletion icon for a respective item in the list; in response to detecting the gesture on the deletion icon for the respective item in the list, initiating a deletion process to delete the respective item in the list; after placing the corresponding item in the list at the position corresponding to the break location on the touch screen display and after initiating the deletion process to delete the respective item in the list, displaying a modified list of items; while displaying the modified list of items, detecting a gesture on the touch screen display to complete the edit mode; in response to detecting the gesture to complete the edit mode, ceasing to display the moving-affordance icons and the deletion icons and maintaining display of the modified list of items.
To review Apple's other eighteen patent claims and invention detailing, see granted patent 8,091,045. Apple credits Greg Christie, Scott Forstall, Stephen Lemay, Bas Ording, Marcel Van Os and Imran Chaudhri as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q2 2007.
Apple Wins a Patent for their iPod Shuffle
Apple has been granted a patent for their second generation iPod shuffle which extends right through to covering accessories such as the iPod shuffle dock and lanyard.
Apple's patent FIG. 16B shown below illustrates the iPod Shuffle plugged into a docking station, which is connected to a laptop computer.
Apple's Fifteenth Patent Claim: A portable media player that does not have a display, comprising: a housing with a front surface and a back surface, the back surface including no I/O components; a non-volatile memory disposed within the housing, the non-volatile memory being configured to store a plurality of digital media assets and data files; a single media control input arrangement located at the front surface of the housing, the media control input arrangement enabling a user of the portable media player to control various aspects of the portable media player; an integrated clip, the clip including a platform that is pivotally coupled to a rounded raised section of the housing via an internal hinge mechanism, the platform rotating between a closed position where an article is trapped between the platform and the housing thus securing the media player to the article, and an open position where the article is released from engagement between the platform and the housing thus freeing the media player from the article, wherein the platform is coupled to the housing via a hinge mechanism that is internal to the housing; and a controller operatively coupled to the memory and the media player input arrangement, the controller operating to play the selected at least one media asset.
To review Apple's other 51 patent claims and invention detailing, see granted patent 8,090,130. Apple credits Rico Zorkendorfer, Stephen Lynch, Dinesh Matthew, Stephen Zadesky, Evans Hankey and David Prest as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q2 2007.
Today's Other Noteworthy Granted Patents
The first noteworthy patent is that of granted patent 8,090,767 which generally relates to computing systems and more specifically to a pairing and storage access scheme between a handheld device and a computing system.
Basically, the iPod has been able to double as a portable hard drive almost from the very beginning, whereas the iPhone wasn't. This particular patent covers how this hard drive storage feature and capability was eventually brought over to the iPhone and more.
The second noteworthy granted patent is that of patent 8,090,132 which covers Apple's now defunct Bluetooth headset. Their first granted patent on this short lived product was published back in May 2011 and an earlier 2009 report showed us that Apple actually considered repurposing this headset at some time in the future. But at this point, we may never see it return. Time will tell.
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Here are a Few Sites covering our Original Report: MacSurfer, Twitter, Facebook, Apple Investor News, Google Reader, Macnews, iPhone World Canada, MarketWatch, CNET Japan, iPhoneros Spain, AppleInsider, New IPBiz Korea, and more.