Apple Wins Broad Patent on iPhone Multi-Touch User Interface [Updated]

As briefly noted by Patently Apple yesterday, Apple has finally been awarded a key patent related to the iOS user interface as implemented on the original iPhone. Originally filed in December 2007, the patent application incorporated several previous provisional patent applications dating back to January 2007 when Apple first unveiled the iPhone six months ahead of its launch.

apple multitouch display translate patent
While the newly-granted patent does not reach the scale of "The iPhone Patent", a 358-page monster patent granted in January 2009 and carrying Steve Jobs' name as an inventor, it does specifically address some basic multi-touch functionality including providing users with the ability to pan around the screen while touching the screen with some number of fingers but panning around a specific frame within the displayed content using a different number of fingers. In essence, the patent describes the basic concept of navigating around webpages with a one-finger touch while also being able to to use a two-finger touch to independently scroll within an embedded frame.

PC Magazine takes a look at the implications of the granted patent, noting that the covered material is broad enough to pose potential problems for other smartphone manufacturers employing capacitive multitouch interfaces on their devices.

It gets quite a bit more technical in its full form, but there's one thing patent experts consulted by PCMag agree on -- Apple has been awarded an incredibly broad patent that could prove to be hugely problematic for other makers of capacitive touch-screen smartphones.

Apple's patent essentially gives it ownership of the capacitive multitouch interface the company pioneered with its iPhone, said one source who has been involved in intellectual property litigation on similar matters.

Apple's patent is also written broadly enough to apply to non-smartphone devices such as tablets and iPod touch-like media players, giving Apple significant clout in protecting its technology.

Apple has already filed infringement lawsuits against a number of its competitors in the smartphone industry including HTC and Samsung, making good on promises that the company would aggressively defend its intellectual property behind the iPhone.

Update: There has been some dispute over just how broadly-applicable Apple's patent is, with a number of readers taking exception to PC Mag's claims of the patent being "hugely problematic" to Apple's competitors. We agree that the scope of the patent is considerably narrower than it would appear from PC Mag's statements and refer readers back to our description of what the patent does in fact cover: the recognition of differing numbers of fingers used as input for scrolling or panning around displayed content either in its entirety or in a smaller subset embedded with a frame.

While the patent doesn't nearly cover the entire graphical interface and multitouch functionality of iOS, it is one more piece in a puzzle of patents that Apple has pieced together to protect a significant portion of the iPhone's functionality.

Tag: Patent

Top Rated Comments

jamesryanbell Avatar
147 months ago
Everyone give up. Apple won. Figure out something innovative on your own.

(Sorry...had to FanBoi the crap out of that one)
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NebulaClash Avatar
147 months ago
This makes sense. Apple may not have invented touch screens, but their specific mult-touch gestures seemed to be uniquely Apple when the iPhone first came out. Now, of course, people copied them and they are in use all over the place, but back in 2007 . . . not so much.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RawBert Avatar
147 months ago
:apple:=Winning
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dethmaShine Avatar
147 months ago
Steve Jobs invented the iPhone? :confused: srsly...

Yes he did.

:rolleyes:
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HelveticaNeue Avatar
147 months ago
Somewhere in Cupertino, Steve Jobs is smiling.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KPOM Avatar
147 months ago
Patent number? Need to see the claims.

7,966,578


http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=7,966,578.PN.&OS=PN/7,966,578&RS=PN/7,966,578 (http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=7,966,578.PN.&OS=PN/7,966,578&RS=PN/7,966,578)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
Stage Manager Extension Thumb 1

New iPadOS 16.1 Beta Expands Stage Manager to Older iPad Pro Models, Delays External Display Support

Tuesday September 27, 2022 10:24 am PDT by
The most recent beta of iPadOS 16.1 expands the controversial Stage Manager feature to older iPads, allowing it to work with iPad Pro models that have an A12X or A12Z chip, according to information Apple provided to Engadget. The beta also removes the external display support from Stage Manager for the current time, with the feature set to return in a later iPadOS 16 update. Apple's...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
john meyer ultra

Apple Watch Ultra Praised by Watch World Tastemaker John Mayer

Monday September 26, 2022 4:42 am PDT by
Apple Watch Ultra has been endorsed by American musician and famous watch collector John Mayer, who has been showing off the new device on his Instagram account. "Been wearing the Apple Watch Ultra for a week... and it's great," writes Mayer over a photo of the watch. "The first Apple Watch that excited me as a mechanical watch collector." "It's loaded with capability and what I call...