Apple patent app describes touchscreen device, method, GUI for determining commands via heuristics
In United States Patent Application #20080122796, filed on September 5, 2007 and published today, May 29, 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is among those credited as inventors of “Touch Screen Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Heuristics.”
A computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a computing device with a touch screen display comprises: detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the command. The one or more heuristics comprise: a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a one-dimensional vertical screen scrolling command, a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a two-dimensional screen translation command, and a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a command to transition from displaying a respective item in a set of items to displaying a next item in the set of items.
The full patent application including links to illustrations is here.
Solar iPhone? Probably not TUAW reader Maaz sent in this link to a Forbes story about a possible solar-powered iPhone. We recently posted about Apple’s new Solar Energy patent so it’s not a big jump to start seeing articles speculating on how that new technology will be used and expressed in Apple’s product line.
I have nothing against solar power–the Sun is the source of most of the Earth’s human-usable energy but I’m not sure that the iPhone is a particularly good match to solar refueling.
As the Forbes article points out, the iPhone is small and is built to radiate light from a large part of its surface, not collect it. Unlike low-powered calculators, the iPhone is a pretty power-hungry device and is going to get hungrier if the (likely) move to 3G occurs. And what the Forbes article does not point out and should be highlighted is that for the most part, iPhones live in our pants, which isn’t a very sunny place (for most people).
So do the math. Small surface + pants-based existence means a Solar-powered iPhone is not very likely to debut.
Apple patents systems to warn of impending dropped calls, track down your keys
Apple is busy at the patent office this week, with two recently uncovered filings to make life just a little bit easier for Mr. Joe Person Man. The first of these is a system to track how far away you are from a cell tower, and to warn you via your phone when you’re about to drop your call — with similar applications for GPS and WiFi devices. The other patent is a Bluetooth-based system to track down lost objects like keys or your Bluetooth headset via the age old method of “you’re getting hotter” and you’re getting colder.” Sure, Apple’s version might have a fancy readout on the phone display, but it’s the same basic principle — no triangulation going on here. Of course, Apple patents all sorts of crazy stuff that never makes it to market, but at least these two have a semblance of possibility.