Feeds

Apple seeks iPod UI, scroll patents

Mouse work

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Apple is attempting to patent the user interface for its iPod. The application was filed at the US Patent and Trademarks Office in October 2002 but only published last week. The eighteen month lag is typical, as is Apple's desire to prevent a simple, clean and consistent design innovation from being copied badly.

It's remarkable only because the iPod had been on the market for a year when the patent was filed. But the USPTO has recently published two more interesting and related applications from Apple Computer. Both are related UI improvements which haven't made it into products yet.

Application No.20040046741 is for a mouse with an optical scroll area rather than a scroll wheel. Another, No. 20040021694 describes how an on-screen 'blob' can help with mouse navigation. The blob allows users to switch between scrolling and cursor modes, or as the application describes it, is "an improved scrolling technique that is ergonomic (e.g., allows the mouse to scroll through a window without holding down a button), that is available to all users regardless of the input device (e.g., does not need a dedicated button) and/or that provides visual stimulus indicating that scrolling is initiated is desired." Jaguar beta testers will remember a user interface element in the shape of a blue disc that - if we remember correctly - hid open windows, but this is quite different, and obviously much more sophisticated. "One advantage of the invention is that mode switching may be implemented using any mouse including a single button mouse. That is, the invention eliminates the need for a dedicated scroll button," concludes the second patent.

Although copyists have pilfered much from the Mac, often taking the words while forgetting the tune. Microsoft's Longhorn's UI borrows from Apple's ten year patent on 'Piles' by grouping related documents together; but we wouldn't want to bet on Microsoft actually releasing its version of Piles before Apple. ®

Related Stories

Doing The Right Thing: Apple UI history
Deep inside Apple's Piles
Apple attempts to patent fast user switching
Apple patents perturb PNG programmers
Apple defeats patent infringement claims - again

Related Products
Buy your iPod from The Reg mobile store

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.