The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Apple a patent for their “core iPhone multitouch”. While touch screen smartphones predated the iPhone over at Apple (like the Pre and Treo), multitouch technology originated with the iPhone. Today, multitouch technology is present in many Android and Windows phone devices.
More after the break
An excerpt from the awarded patent reads:
In general, multi-touch panels may be able to detect multiple touches (touch events or contact points) that occur at or about the same time, and identify and track their locations. Examples of multi-touch panels are described in Applicant’s co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 10/842,862 entitled “Multipoint Touchscreen,” filed on May 6, 2004 and published as U.S. Published Application No. 2006/0097991 on May 11, 2006, the contents of which are incorporated by reference herein.
In view of the above, although this disclosure may describe detecting input in terms of touch-events, it should be understood that the various embodiments disclosed herein may detect near touches or hover-events as well. Accordingly, a touch, a near-touch or a hover may be referred to as an “event” and multiple events that occur at or about the same time may be referred to as a “multi-event.”
When Apple filed this patent they stated that the multitouch technology could operate on various types of hardware including laptops, desktops, tablets, PDA’s, handhelds and phones.
While this may be seen as a big blow to Android it’s good to keep in mind that Samsung and Motorola hold critical patents that pertain to 3G and cellphone technologies that are found in the core “phone” part of the iPhone.