The patent problems relating to Apple’s touchscreen inherent in all of its iDevices have been widely publicized. Apple claimed that other smartphone manufacturers infringed on its touchscreen technology patents. The technology that received the most press was the zoom screen that we all know and love.
Apple’s Zoom Screen Patent
In 2008 Apple engineer Bas Ording was granted a patent for developing a touch screen that had the ability to zoom in and out on the displayed feature with a specified gesture from the user. Samsung began using the pinch zoom technology and incited a fight between the two companies when it submitted a patent application for the technology. Microsoft jumped into the fray by attempting to patent the technology many years after its first inception. Initially, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) declared Apple’s pinch to zoom patent as invalid, but they are currently in the process of reexamining the technology. Samsung claims that they had the technology in 2001 while Apple videos show Steve Jobs demonstrating the technology in 2007. Until the final decision by the PTO, Samsung requested a stay of trial against Apple.
A couple months back Apple filed a new patent for a technology they call a ‘wraparound touchscreen’. The wraparound screen is a screen that has a continuous touch sensitive screen with few to no physical push buttons. Apple plans to attempt this technology in a number of different devices, but its iPhone 6 is the most likely first vehicle for implementation.
Sharp Corp., the company that supplies most of the display items for Apple iDevices, has recently developed and patented a revolutionary touch screen that can be used in many ways unique from current touchscreens. For example, this touchscreen is not only sensitive to gloved hands, but is also sensitive to normal pens and pencils. No longer will users need to worry about losing an expensive or tiny stylus or take their gloves off in freezing weather in order to answer their phone. The screen is also much thinner than the current iDevice touchscreen, which means future Apple devices can be much lighter. The speculation and hope is that the iPhone 6 will feature this new technology.