Apple Granted 52 Patents Today Covering Major Multitouch Inventions Including the Magic Trackpad & Possible Future Products
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 52 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover two major Apple multitouch patents. The first was the force behind the original iPhone launched in 2007 when Apple's CEO Steve Jobs introduced "multitouch" for the iPhone and the second covers the technology that led to the Magic Trackpad. Apple's first multitouch patent covers an incredible array of applications, some of which are still to come to market. We wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Granted Patent: Multitouch
Apple's newly granted patent titled "Gestures for devices having one or more touch sensitive surfaces" covers their invention relating to multitouch and more specifically, it relates to rolling gestures on a touch sensitive surface of a device for controlling the device and for remotely controlling another device. This also relates to gestures enabled by the placement of one or more touch sensitive surfaces for configuring the operation of the device and for enabling additional gestures for operating the device.
The operations can also include paging, scrolling, panning, zooming, etc. By way of example, the input devices can include buttons, switches, keyboards, mice, trackballs, touch pads, joy sticks, touch screens and the like.
Below is a collage of Apple's patent figures from the first granted patent. Apple's patent FIG. 7A covers the simulation of rotating a virtual knob that could have tactile feedback associated with it so users could feel the clicking of the knob or dial as it turns. In patent Figures 28C and 28D we're able to see a touch sensitive surface wrapped around a camera lens to detect gestures performed on the surface.
Apple's patent FIGS. 24A to 24C noted above cover the classic multitouch gesture of pinch and zoom in addition to a hold-and-rotate gesture. Apple's patent FIG. 29 relates to a gesture that could be used in a future video game. Apple's patent FIG. 9 is a tablet PC communicating with a vehicle. Apple's patent further notes that a steering wheel could act as a future touchpad to control specific functions like a media player.
Apple further notes beyond controlling aspects of a vehicle it could also control other devices such as robots, vacuum cleaners, machinery and consumer electronic devices such as televisions, computers, dedicated music players, mobile phones and the like.
Apple credits Greg Christie and Wayne Westerman as the inventors of granted patent 8,970,503 which was originally filed in Q2 2007 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
A Second Multitouch Patent Granted Today led to Apple's Magic Trackpad
Apple was granted another major multitouch patent today under number 8,970,501. This is another 2007 invention that eventually led to Apple's Magic Touchpad that was officially announced on July 27, 2010.
Apple's patent FIG. 4e noted above illustrates an exemplary concurrent use of proximity sensors #422 and #424 and multi-touch panel #426 according to some embodiments of this invention. In the example of FIG. 4e, two input devices, a standard keyboard 428 and multi-touch panel 426, can be available to a user.
Apple's patent also hints of a virtual keyboard. Apple notes that "One or more proximity sensors can be used to implement the function of "pushing" virtual buttons appearing on the touch panel (in some embodiments with an audible confirmation) and trigger functions without actually making contact with the touch panel." In 2012 Apple advanced their work on a virtual keyboard.
HP's new Sprout PC offers a virtual keyboard generated from a back tower of the PC that hangs over the display and both performs 3D scans of objects and projects a virtual keyboard as noted below. So a virtual keyboard from Apple could still be a potential product further down the road.
Apple Granted Four Design Patents Today
Apple was granted four design patents today. The first design win which is illustrated below, covers the components behind the iPhone 4 (D723,567).
The other three designs cover an Apple Store table stand (D723,572); the trackpad of a MacBook (D723,539); and a Lanyard (illustrated below, D723,264).
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
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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 Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Comments are reviewed daily from 5am to 7pm MST and sporadically over the weekend.