Apple files US patent application for ‘Multi-functional hand-held device’

“On September 7, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple’s patent application titled ‘Multi-functional hand-held device’ originally filed in March 2006,” MacNN reports.

“In light of Apple’s September 12th ‘Showtime’ media event – this patent holds the potential of providing us with valuable insights into a new iPod and/or other hand-held device which could debut on Tuesday. Telephony is covered in this patent. However, the unique aspect of this chameleon style unit, is that it holds the potential of changing UI,” MacNN reports.

“This powerful patent covers the following topics: Touch Screen, Touch Sensitive Housing, Display Actuator, Multi-Functionality, Form Factor, One-Handed vs. Two-Handed Operation, Footprint/Size, Full Screen Display, Limited Number of Mechanical Actuators, Adaptability, GUI Based on Functionality, Switching Between Devices (GUI), Operating at Least Two Functionalities Simultaneously, Configurable GUI (User Preferences), Input Devices, Pressure or Force Sensing Devices, Force Sensitive Housing, Motion Actuated Input Device, Mechanical Actuators, Microphone, Image Sensor, Touch Gestures, 3-D Spatial Gestures, Perform Action Based on Multiple Inputs, Differentiating Between Light and Hard Touches, Example of a New Touch Vocabulary, Speaker, Audio/Tactile Feedback Devices, Communication Devices (wired & wireless) and Change UI Based on Received Communication Signals.”

Much more, including diagrams, here.

Related articles:
New Apple iPods coming? Major Aussie retailers slash iPod prices up to 80% – September 01, 2006
Apple’s ‘touchless’ touchscreen iPod revealed – July 25, 2006
More info surfaces regarding Apple’s latest iPod touch-screen patent filing – July 21, 2006
Hon Hai Chairman: Apple about to unveil next-gen iPod using a ‘none-touch’ concept – June 15, 2006

Rumor: Intel and Apple working on ‘intelligent device’ – August 22, 2006
Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks up much-rumored ‘iPhone’ iPod mobile phone – August 11, 2006
Is this Apple’s iPhone? – August 03, 2006
BofA ups Apple Computer to ‘buy,’ expects ‘iPhone’ in 2007, shares rise in early trading – July 31, 2006
Not sitting around doing nothing: ‘iPhone’ could add billions to Apple’s revenue – July 21, 2006
Apple CFO on iPhone: ‘we’re not sitting around doing nothing’ – July 20, 2006
Merrill Lynch ups Apple rating to ‘buy’; UBS raises Apple target to $80 – July 20, 2006
Apple Q3 2006 Conference Call notes – July 19, 2006
iPhone, iPod messenger clues in latest iPod firmware update – July 17, 2006
Patent application shows iPod capable of live wireless video conferencing – June 13, 2006
Bear Stearns comments on Apple: ‘true’ video iPod, iPhone, multiple OS plans – May 17, 2006
Apple patent application filed for wireless iPod+iTunes distribution – May 04, 2006
Report: Apple Computer may soon launch its own music ‘iPhone’ – March 31, 2006
RUMOR: Apple ‘iPhone’ put on hold – March 30, 2006
Visiongain: Apple ‘iPhone’ launch imminent – March 29, 2006
BenQ exec: Apple’s iPhone ‘definitely coming’ – March 23, 2006


  1. Finally, a Mother Box. That’s incredible. I didn’t know it was real. I didn’t see the gravitational polarity adjustment device listed in the patent, but maybe they’re just keeping that “close to the vest” until after Vista ships.

    Did you ever notice how closely “ships” resembles “slips?” Vista ships. Vista slips. You could almost take the same “Vista slips” headline and reapply it in 2008 when Vista actually does ship, just by crossing out part of the “h.” It’s uncanny.

    Speaking of uncanny, the MDN magic mind-reading word is “vaporware.”

    Not really, but still.

  2. I wouldn’t necessarily make the connection between this patent and the announcement coming next week. As Akido mentioned, they’ve filed many patents, in the last year alone, that have not yet become actual products, probably just as a means of protecting their IP.

    As for what these illustrations look like (brick, etc.), keep in mind that these are done by the engineers. Ive and Co. haven’t gotten their hands on them yet, at least not for what goes to the patent office.

  3. I’ve been suggesting an iPod front end box communicating — Bluetooth probably — with other devices, besides the BT headphone. Cell Phones and GPS receivers are obvious candidates.

    Oh yes, MDN magic word: soon.

    If Apple would produce such a box and, in particular, if Apple were to create an SDK for the iPod (to run on Mac OS X first – of course) to allow others to interface to the iPod wirelessly, Apple could run away with the interface market for a major part of the mobile and even non mobile consumer electronics market.

    If Apple were to score a few major wins up front, for example, a company like Motorola cooperates and builds a BT enabled cell phone that can communicate with a BT enabled iPod and if it is a big hit, the competitors will come running to jump on the Apple band wagon.

    This could easily turn in to the biggest money maker for Apple by far. Apple would only have to deal with the core competencies that it already has. They would simply be hijacking one horizontal layer of the consumer electronics business, the human interface – Apple’s strength.

    I have no idea if Apple plans such a device, but if they try it, it could make business history.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.