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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been granted a patent that could turn out to be highly lucrative and a fairly potent tool in the company’s fight against Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android device makers. The patent is for a method to display documents, lists, etc. on a portable electronic device. It covers graphical user interfaces designed for blogging, e-mail, telephone, camera, video player, calendar, browser, widgets, search, notes, maps, as well as a multi-touch interface.
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Smartphone makers like Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) added physical buttons for users to access information on the device, which, according to Apple, resulted in “complicated key sequences and menu hierarchies that must be memorized by the user.” Apple’s touch-only interfaces instead provide a more intuitive experience, the company says.
“As portable electronic devices become more compact, and the number of functions performed by a given device increase, it has become a significant challenge to design a user interface that allows users to easily interact with a multifunction device,” the patent description reads. “This situation is unfortunate because the user interface is the gateway through which users receive not only content but also responses to user actions or behaviors.”
Commentators were of the opinion that the patent could have fairly serious consequences. “… [T]he latest addition to the Cupertino-based tech giant’s stable of intellectual property could be the mother of all smartphone software patents,” Phandroid’s Kevin Krause wrote. “The effects could be swift and lethal.”
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