Apple files sophisticated gesturing patent: ‘Multi-touch Gesture Dictionary’

“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.


  1. Someone was bound to do it sooner or later just as in the ‘idiots guide’ reference books.

    Good for Apple to get in first, it also means that any of those so called multi-touch appliances that go by the names of tables et al cannot claim on that one either!

    Is this patent number 176 of the 200 patents teh creator of the ‘Reality Distortion Field’ announced?

  2. This is just Great! It’s the last thing I need.

    This is just going to get me into even MORE trouble.
    It’s bad enough I spend all my time getting in trouble for all my gesturing now.

    Imagine what happens when I learn multi touch gesturing.

  3. iphone games with this will be great.

    I want a first person dodge ball game.

    I think this is going to be on the screen as well as the new glowing touch pads on laptops and the new mouse they just patented.

    bring the innovation for regular users!!

  4. Oh yes. “Cut and Paste” was not forgotten on the iPhone. Nor “Open in a New Page”. They were just gestures deemed to be too much for half a million multi-touch newbies. But here they come. Along with several dozen others.

    Stock-wise, I wonder… It would be very Applelike to come out with a futuristic idea and then force people to go with it or go somewhere else. Consider the one-button mouse for so long, the thrown out disk drive, the tossed out modem. It might be that everything from here on out goes multi-touch-a-rific. And if you don’t like it go buy Vista or stick with Tiger and your old machine.

  5. The images on the patent site look like crap on Safari. There’s a scrollbar running down the center of the screen and the fonts look like they’re on 36 point. With all the patents Apple files, you’d think they’d at least get off IE code.

  6. I think this implementation of copy & paste is unnecessarily complicated for the iPhone.

    With the white dotted cursor and a little dragging action, you should be able to highlight text and cut it from the area somehow. That’s far easier than what I see here.

    Apple just dropped the ball when it comes to copy & paste.

  7. Hmmmm, sounds like Apple wants to get their idea on the books so MS or others cannot steal it like they did the desktop.

    Remember the whole cut, paste, save, print thing came from Apple after they did a lot of field testing to see which combo of symbols would make sense to most people. (Read that from a history of mac web site.)

    Anyway, like kleenex, if you do not get it in writing and protect it, its ok for others to steal. That is our government. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

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