Feeds

Apple seeks iPod UI, scroll patents

Mouse work

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

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

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.