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Apple wins 39 new patents on Smart Cover, pinch-to-zoom

The company is awarded patents on a wide array of technologies, including replication server selection and motion-sensor data processing.


Apple has won dozens of new patents across a wide array of technologies, including how pinch-to-zoom works in software and its iPad Smart Cover's attachment features.

Perhaps the most important patent is one that relates to how a touch screen reacts to a person's thumb and index finger during a pinch-to-zoom gesture. Sensors within the touch display change in size and shape based on the gestured detected by those fingers. If a thumb and forefinger start to move together, the sensory panels change around that. When they move apart, the sensors once again adapt. Other sensors around the screen, however, are not modified.

The technology allows for pixels to change in size, as well, essentially creating more accurate representation of the person's touch-screen gesture.

The Patently Apple blog site was first to report on the patents.

All told, Apple was awarded 39 patents today. According to Patently Apple, three of those patents related to the way in which the iPad's Smart Cover attaches to the tablet. All three of those patents describe a method in which a magnet is attached to the slate to protect its screen and provide other benefits.

The other patents Apple won today are decidedly less interesting. They describe everything from automatic audio adjustments to integrated noise reduction technology. Still, as the last few years of lawsuits have shown, they sometimes come in handy in legal battles.