The iPhone first hit the market in June 2007. It sold 6.1 million units in the second half of that year, unlike Apple which sold 81.5 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2021 alone. In 2005, Apple’s iPhone patents were, well, anything but clear as to what they were working on. Most of the original patents painted the picture of an advanced iPod with telephony. If we dared to imply that it was a cell phone, the naysayers would criticize us saying that Apple would never, ever enter the market because Motorola would crush them. Yet in the case of a 2005 Apple patent, the evidence showed that it could very well be a cell phone that Apple was working on.
Apple noted in its 2005 patent filing: “For example, a switch may allow a user to cycle through the operating modes of the cell phone, media player and PDA. Once a particular mode of operation is selected, the multifunction device operates as the selected device. For example, a user can look up a contact’s phone number in the PDA and pass that number to the phone to be dialed.”
Apple’s 2005 iPhone patent which was granted yesterday was titled “Multifunctional Handheld Device”. This mirrors how Steve Jobs was going to sell the iPhone to the world. As you can see in the 2007 photo below, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, saying: It’s “an iPod…a phone…and an Internet communicator…you get it?
To think that the “iPhone” patent only had “Steven Hotelling” as the sole inventor is quite amazing.
The patent further describes the iPhone in patent claim no. 15 as follows: a portable electronic device according to claim 14, wherein said portable electronic device functions as one or more of a mobile telephone, a PDA, a multimedia player, a camera, a single player, a handtop, an Internet terminal, a GPS receiver and a remote control.”
The patent describes various aspects of their invention in segments. Below are some of those listed:
- Use at least two features simultaneously
- Configurable GUI (user preferences)
- Touch box
- Display actuator
- Pressure or force sensing devices
- Force Sensitive Display
- Motion Activated Input Device
- Image sensor
- Touch gestures
- 3D spatial gestures
- Perform an action based on multiple inputs [Multitouch]
- Differentiate between light and hard keys
- A new tactile vocabulary
Figures 1A-F of the Apple patent below illustrate what the iPhone concept was to pack into a single device; FIG. 2 is a simplified diagram of a multifunctional portable device; FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a substantially full screen portable device with a limited number of limited buttons; FIG. 18 illustrates an example GUI for a main menu of a multifunctional handheld device.
Apple’s patent FIG. 8 below is a diagram of a graphical interface separated into a standard region and a control region; is a block diagram of a touch sensing method; FIG. 26 is a block diagram of the touch sensing method.
For those wishing to take a trip back in time to the design of the iPhone, the patent issued yesterday is one of the original patents behind the revolutionary multifunctional device that changed the way the world communicated. An invention that Steve Jobs was so excited to present to the world and that sparked the company’s spectacular rise to the rank of the world’s leading technology company.
Discover granted patent 11,275,405.