iPhone Multi-touch patent question

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by iObject, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. iObject macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2009
    hi all, i'm new here

    so, apple has multi-touch technology that steve said was patented

    then how could these other smart phones like the pre the android, etc.. have the same swipe and zoom?

    is it just different technology but does the same thing? if so, does apple have a "look and feel" patent?

    and finally, what's the difference between the iphone tech and microsoft's surface tech?

  2. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Hi. Good questions.

    1) Apple does NOT have a patent on multi-touch.

    What happened was that they got a patent on a certain way of recognizing if the user wanted to scroll just in a single direction. That's it.

    In the patent, they threw in a hundred pages of fluff examples which were not patented. This confused most so-called "technical reporters" into believing the patent covered far more than it did.

    Anyone who actually read and understood the claims knew right away that it was a relatively tiny patent.

    2) Apple can only copyright their exact look and feel, such as icons and specific UI elements. However, they can attempt to patent certain ways of detecting user gestures.

    3) Apple tried to trademark the name "Multi-Touch", but the last I saw, the US trademark office had given a final denial to that, even though Apple tried to file an extension. Not sure what the outcome is now.

    4) Microsoft Surface uses cameras underneath an IR side-lit panel, to detect touches (your fingers reflect the light down to the cameras). You can find DIY instructions on the web to build a similar table.

    (A newer version called Second Light is in development... it has multiple projectors and can also detect hand gestures above the table.)

    The iPhone uses a capacitive touchscreen. This is a semi-transparent conductive grid that has a constant waveform applied. When your finger gets near enough, your body draws away a bit of current and onboard circuits detect where.
  3. iObject thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2009
    Hi kdarling

    thanks but some questions below....

    i'm not a programmer... so apple's patent is scrolling, let's say, left or right... right? if so, how does the pre do the same thing?

    also about multi touch, so the droid does not have multitouch in the us even though android does have mt... is this the "same" mt apple has? if so how could google do this legally? or is it another technology.... sorry if this sounds lame... i really do not understand all this :)

    could apple say that before the iPhone, all smart phones looked like this (A)...after the intro of the iPhone, a lot of these new touch screen smart phones looks kinds like the iPhone.... icons, dock, virtual keyboards... not to mention the mt stuff.... could apple say, hey we developed this look and feel....damnit

    multi touch seems like a term destined to be like band-aid, ipod, magic markers

    to an everyman, it looks like surface is a big version of the iPhone.... and the other way around...

    thanks man for the info
  4. thelatinist macrumors 603


    Aug 15, 2009
    Connecticut, USA
    Obviously, they do it differently. Apple can only patent their specific way of doing it, not the very act of scrolling.

    They can swear all they want and say anything they want, but that doesn't mean they can copyright some sort of generic "look and feel." They can only copyright specific elements, as Kdarling said.

    That's why we have patent attorneys do these things.
  5. iObject thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2009

    i assume there are many ways to do scrolling ... why is apple's better (or not)? thx
  6. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    It locks in the orientation that you're scrolling. For example, if you scroll in a certain way downwards, the screen won't go to the side- it will lock the movement to downwards/upwards.

    It's convenient when you're reading an article and you're scrolling down and you don't accidentally move the screen to the left/right. Thats why it's better.
  7. iObject thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2009
    oh i see... yes i agree that is great... so what's the difference between that and other smart phones's scrolling?

  8. outphase macrumors 65816

    Jun 13, 2009
    Parts Unknown
    Is the patent even issued? Anyone have the patent #?

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