Apple has known for a while that it might be forced to defend its intellectual properties as the smartphone industry becomes more mature. Most experts agree that things need to be changed in the world of patents. Too many companies are using ridiculous patents to hinder innovation. In the meantime, corporations that have built-up their patent portfolios have an easier way defending themselves and keeping others from stealing ideas.
Apple has been recently awarded the “Slide to Unlock” patent. We have all gotten used to unlocking our phones by sliding our finger across a screen. Apple applied for a patent on this concept a few years ago. Considering that Android and other platforms use similar concepts for unlocking phones, Apple could potentially use this patent to put pressure on its rivals.
A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture,
as patent # 8,046,721 states. It will be interesting to see how Apple uses this patent to go after its competitors. While it is nice to have it, that does not necessarily guarantee that Apple can win major cases with this. Courts can still rule this patent to be invalid.
While Apple is putting more pressure on Android with its lawsuit, it is facing some setbacks in iPad 3 production. The company has grand plans for it. The last generation iPad was not a huge upgrade over its predecessor. There are rumors that iPad 3 will have a retina-like display. But LG and Samsung may not be able to come up with enough displays for this tablet to take off next year:
[both companies] have production plans for 2,048×1,536 displays. Starting in November. But those are only plans at this point. he challenge is making lots of them,
sources told CNET. Still, it seems implausible for Apple to bring an iPad 3 to the market without major upgrades over iPad 2. It will be interesting to see how the company gets around these screen production issues.
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