Today the US Patent and Trademark Office posted 20 new patents granted to Apple Inc, two of which are valuable patents related to the iPhone, iPad, and iOS. Patents like these have been becoming more important as mobile device manufacturers take each other to court.

According a report from Patently Apple, the three most noteworthy of the patents include one for integrated touch screen technology that allows the display to be “thinner, brighter and require less power” and require less parts to manufacture, another is related to the “Voicemail Manager” for iPhone, and the last appears to be related to “improved installation, retention and removal of hardware components” in Mac Pro or other tower-like personal computers.

Perhaps the most notable of the three is the “Integrated Touch Screen” patent. Below is a snippet of Apple’s summary from Patently Apple.

Apple’s Summary: The patent relates to touch sensing circuitry integrated into the display pixel stackup (i.e., the stacked material layers forming the display pixels) of a display, such as an LCD display. Circuit elements in the display pixel stackups could be grouped together to form touch sensing circuitry that senses a touch on or near the display. Touch sensing circuitry could include, for example, touch signal lines, such as drive lines and sense lines, grounding regions, and other circuitry.


Another key patent is the “Voicemail Manager” Method & GUI for Accessing Voicemail on Devices. It’s hard to argue that Apple didn’t completely revolutionize voicemail on smartphones with their visual voicemail on the iPhone in comparison to the clunky implementations before it. This patent is something Apple is certainly glad to have as the smartphone patent wars heat up. A snippet from the patent from the patent below:

Patent Claim 1 Method: A method, comprising: at a portable electronic device with a touch screen display: displaying a list of voicemail messages; detecting selection by a user of a respective voicemail message in the list; responding to the user selection of the respective voicemail message by initiating playback of the user-selected voicemail message; detecting a finger contact with a progress bar on the touch screen display, the progress bar configured to slide in a first direction on the touch screen display; detecting continuous movement of the finger contact on the touch screen display from the progress bar to a location other than the progress bar…

Lastly, the patent for “Component Retention Mechanism for a Tower Computer”. Apple explains:

A component retention mechanism facilitates improved installation, retention and removal of hardware components (e.g., PCI cards) on a personal computer. The retention mechanism includes a locking component, support member, and release mechanism coupled to each other. The locking component can be a steel bar or other stiff item positioned proximate to multiple socket connectors on a circuit board. The locking component moves between unlocked and locked positions that mechanically and simultaneously unlock or lock in place multiple add-in cards inserted into the socket connectors.

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