The 21 most important iPhone patents

BY Jason

Published 27 Mar 2007

We decided to investigate Steve Jobs claim that Apple had over 200 patents for the technology behind the iPhone and came up with a list of the 21 we consider to be the most important. In compiling the list we were amazed at how accurately some of the patents fit with the iPhone specifications. Of course we have the benefit of hindsight but given the content of these patents we would expect somebody to have predicted the touchscreen iPhone?

The patents indicate innovative ways to download and manage podcasts, beam media from the iPhone to your TV as well as a lot of patents regarding the touchscreen and user interface.

Management of files in a personal communication device
Improved approaches for assisting a user interacting with a
portable wireless communication device are disclosed. The improved approaches can provide a user interface for the portable wireless
communication device that includes including a plurality of linked display screens and a plurality of physical keys.

Methods and apparatuses for docking a portable electronic device that operates in multiple orientations

The docking system includes a portable electronic device capable of operating in multiple orientations including vertical and horizontal.

Operation between portable media player and host device

Methods and system for transferring images from a portable media player to a display device for example a TV, camera or printer.

Hot unpluggable media storage device

The peripheral device can be automatically prepared for removal in the event that its user removes (unplugs) it from its host computer.

Method and system for transferring stored data between a media player and an accessory

The method and system comprises obtaining by one of the media player and the accessory a unique identifier for a particular file
stored in the other of the media player and the accessory; and returning the unique identifier with the stored file data to the one of
the media player and the accessory.

Touch pad for handheld device

A media player having a touch pad is disclosed.

Resolution Independent User Interface Design

A method to represent a material map for a graphical user interface element, comprising: receiving a plurality of values for a material map, the material map for use with a graphical user interface element; associating each received value with a display attribute, the display attributes sufficiently complete to permit the material map to be rendered; and storing the plurality of display attributes and their associated values in a file.

Techniques for presenting sound effects on a portable media player

The sound effects can be output as audio sounds to an internal speaker, an external speaker, or both. In addition, the audio sounds
for the sound effects can be output together with other audio sounds pertaining to media assets (e.g., audio tracks being played). In one embodiment, the sound effects can serve to provide auditory feedback to a user of the portable media device. A user interface can facilitate a user’s selection of sound effect usages, types or characteristics.

Utilization of podcasts on portable media devices

Techniques and systems for supporting podcasting

Acquisition, management and synchronization of podcasts

Three patents on how Apple would hope to download, manage and synchronize podcasts on a portable media player.

Actuating user interface for media player

According to one aspect, the user interface is a display device that can both display visual information and serve as a mechanical
actuator to generate input signals is disclosed. By way of example, the display device, which displays visual information such as text,
characters and graphics, may also act like a push or clickable button(s), a sliding toggle button or switch, a rotating dial or knob,
a motion controlling device such as a joystick or navigation pad, and/or the like. According to another aspect, the user interface is an input device that includes a movable touch pad control signal capable of detecting the movements of the movable touch pad so as to generate one or more distinct second control signals.

Device Having Display and Surrounding Touch Sensitive Bezel for User Interface and Control

An electronic device has a display and has a touch sensitive bezel surrounding the display. Areas on the bezel are designated for controls used to operate the electronic device. Visual guides corresponding to the controls are displayed on the display adjacent the areas of the bezel designated for the controls. Touch data is generated by the bezel when a user touches an area of the bezel. The device can have a sensor for determining the orientation of the device.

Proximity detector in handheld device

The method includes sensing an object spaced away and in close proximity to the electronic device. The method also includes performing an action in the electronic device when an object is sensed.

Method and system for operating a portable electronic device in a power-limited manner

In one embodiment of the invention, the substantially depleted battery can be initially charged while a power-intensive operation is delayed. Once the battery has adequate charge to assist the external, power-limited source in powering the portable electronic device, the power-intensive operation can be performed.

Multipoint touchscreen

A touch panel having a transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches or near touches that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in the plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals representative of the location of the touches on the plane of the touch panel for each of the multiple touches is disclosed.

Activating virtual keys of a touch-screen virtual keyboard>

A method of operating a touch screen to activate one of a plurality of virtual keys is provided. A touch location is determined based on location data pertaining to touch input on the touch screen, wherein the touch input is intended to activate one of the plurality of virtual keys.

Mode-based graphical user interfaces for touch sensitive input devices

The method includes detecting a touch and then determining a user interface mode when a touch is detected. The method further includes activating one or more GUI elements based on the user interface mode and in response to the detected touch.

Gestures for touch sensitive input devices>

The invention in one respect includes reading data from a multipoint sensing device such as a multipoint touch screen where the
data pertains to touch input with respect to the multipoint sensing device, and identifying at least one multipoint gesture based on the data from the multipoint sensing device.

Visual expander

The method includes presenting graphical information on the touchscreen display. The method further includes detecting a touch over
the touchscreen display. The method also includes expanding an area of the touch screen display proximate the location of the touch.

Touch-sensitive electronic apparatus for media applications

In one embodiment, the touch screen is a multipoint touch screen so that multiple user touch inputs can be simultaneously acquired. In another embodiment, surface guides can be provided on the touch screen to assist with user input.