Apple has been awarded two patents related to smartphone design, in particular the slide to unlock and pop-up keyboards from iOS. Those patent applications were filed around the time that Apple had debuted its first iPhone several years ago, and the patents were only granted recently.
We’ll have to see how Apple, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and other legal entities view and interpret the patents granted to Apple. Slide to unlock could mean a number of different things when interpreted in a broad sense. On the Samsung Galaxy S, there isn’t a slider to unlock the screen, but rather users moved the entire unlock window out of the way to reveal the OS and the UI.
Additionally, it is yet to be determined how Apple will interpret its pop-up letters on the software keyboard of the iPhone and iOS devices, though Apple could potentially strong-arm lots of parties into paying royalties and licensing fees for the various iOS keyboard look-alikes on various touchscreen devices. As such, manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, and Motorola would be affected, and so too would Research in Motion.
Apple hasn’t been shy about pursuing Android OEMs; the most famous incident is the company’s case against HTC.
Another recent Apple patent that was awarded that can carry broad implications relates to the overall physical design of the iPhone.
(via: Mobile Crunch)