The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 37 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. One of today's more interesting granted patents presents a future iPhone that will be able to use its backside camera as a unique input interface allowing users to simply use swiping gestures over the camera's lens to control certain iPhone functionality. Our report also presents you with a list of 25 other patents granted to Apple today.
Apple Granted Patent for Camera as an Input UI
Today's granted patent, which Patently Apple first covered in February 2010, reveals another Apple innovation that is designed to help users control their incoming calls and voicemail by simply swiping their finger over the external camera lens. This future feature will be able to control rewinding and fast forwarding voicemail.
In addition, the new methodology will also be able to enhance one-handed navigation of web pages, documents, a contact list or your iTunes library by simply swiping the camera lens in different swiping motion combinations.
In the future, the iPad may be able to take advantage of this feature as well if the camera is positioned correctly. This would theoretically allow a user to simply flick a finger over the camera lens to turn the page of a book or scroll a webpage without ever having to move your hand. This is an excellent idea on several fronts that will have Apple's competition on the run, again. That's if they get it to market first.
Apple's granted patent FIG. 4 noted above is a block diagram of a portable handheld device with enhanced document navigating capabilities; patent FIG. 5 illustrates a flow diagram of operations by an iPhone implementing user commands; and patent FIG. 6 depicts a block diagram of an example iPhone implementation.
Apple credits Sequin, Gregg and Lee as the inventors of today's granted patent titled "Camera as Input Interface," which was originally filed for 53 months ago in August 2008.
Twenty-Five Other Granted Patents Issued to Apple Today by the US Patent & Trademark Office
It's Granted Patent Day
Readers should be aware that every Tuesday the US Patent and Trademark Office publish Apple's Granted Patents. Granted patents are approved patent applications that Apple applied for months or even years ago. In the vast majority of cases, "granted patents" aren't covering any new kind of technology on the day the patent is being granted. New Apple technologies are generally revealed on Thursdays by the US Patent Office in the form of published patent applications. Some Mac sites confuse this process by making claims and presenting bylines on Tuesday that insinuate that Apple has just revealed a new technology or process. In 99% of cases, this is simply untrue and readers should be made aware of this fact. Known exceptions would include patents that were recently acquired by Apple or a domestic and/or foreign patent application that Apple had never presented in the US before under its own brand name.
NOTICE: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.