Feeds

Apple threatens Palm chomp

Patents drawn at 20 paces

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Gesture Capture

Equally important could well be application number 20080036743, which broadly claims to cover recognising gestures on a multi-touch surface. The patent application covers the process of capturing a gesture, which is then compared to a stored database of gestures to decide what action should be triggered. Also covered is the inclusion of a "gesture editor" to enable users to create their own gestures, and a hierarchical system for rating gestures by complexity.

But to most people the key capability of the iPhone's interface is the two-fingered zoom. Though it turns telephone use into a two-handed operation, the two-fingered zoom is the function that iPhone fans most enjoy showing off. The Fingerworks keyboard has the same function, only using five fingers, and Apple's patent clearly differentiates from such prior art by specifying a "portable electronic device" and the use of icons.

The patent application is number 20070152984, and it specifies that a graphical object greater than a specific size can be interacted with through the use of multi-touch, including "wherein the operation to be performed is changing a magnification level of the object by an amount corresponding to a change in distance between two or more contacts with the display surface." That would seem to cover the act of zooming in by drawing two fingers together, a demonstrated as a feature of the Palm Pre.

But before giving up on Palm, or accusing Apple of being unreasonable, there are three very important things to remember. Firstly, all except the first example quoted are patent applications - and Apple isn't going to sue anyone until those patents have been awarded, assuming that they are. Secondly, the Pre is still at the prototype stage, and nothing is going to happen until the device launches and Apple gets a chance to see if Palm is worth suing.

Thirdly, and probably most importantly: We are not patent lawyers. Apple probably has patents we've missed during this trawl, and Palm could well have workarounds to avoid the infringements we've suggested. But given the amount of money both companies are most likely going to be spending on litigation over the next couple of years, perhaps patent lawyer would be a sensible career move. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.