“On August 2, 2007, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple’s patent application titled Multi-touch Gesture Dictionary,” Neo reports for MacNN.

“At first glance, Apple’s patent could be taken as quite intimidating. I mean, who on earth really wants to learn an entirely new gesturing language just to be able to use your iPhone. Not many,” Neo reports.

“However, for anyone who has ever learned the guitar, you know that it too looked insanely difficult at first. Yet with a little practice and some mean jamming with your friends, playing chords became second nature. Whether that proves to be the same for Apple’s sophisticated gesturing language for the iPhone is another matter,” Neo reports. “I also know some mean playing numeric-pad accountants, and at the end of the day, I couldn’t care less in learning that skill.”

“Which way will the wind blow on this one? I don’t know. Will it be viewed as cool to know the new Apple iPhone chord gesturing language or just a Mac cultists dream. Only time will tell on that one,” Neo reports. “For now however, Apple’s patent is an interesting read.”

Full article, with illustrations showing the gestures and their meanings, here.
Not just iPhone. The patent application abstract states, “A multi-touch gesture dictionary is disclosed herein. The gesture dictionary can include a plurality of entries, each corresponding to a particular chord. The dictionary entries can include a variety of motions associated with the chord and the meanings of gestures formed from the chord and the motions. The gesture dictionary may take the form of a dedicated computer application that may be used to look up the meaning of gestures. The gesture dictionary may also take the form of a computer application that may be easily accessed from other applications. The gesture dictionary may also be used to assign user-selected meanings to gestures. Also disclosed herein are computer systems incorporating multi-touch gesture dictionaries. The computer systems can include, desktop computers, tablet computers, notebook computers, handheld computers, personal digital assistants, media players, mobile telephones, and the like.”

The full patent application is here.