Apple gets patents on scroll wheel, iMac design

Four patents are awarded to the company for various technologies used over the past few years, including the ubiquitous iPod scroll wheel.

Tom Krazit
Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Apple several patents this week on technologies inside the iPod, iMac, and Apple software.

MacNN summarized the four patents, awarded based on applications filed as far back as 2002. The most familiar ones involve the scroll wheel for the iPod and the flexible support arm used on the iMac, but the other two appear to involve sound or video editing on a split screen and speech recognition. Patent reading might just be the missing cure for insomnia.

If you're interested in further details, check out the patents themselves for the iPod scroll wheel, the iMac support arm, the split-screen editing, and the speech recognition technologies. It's interesting to note, however, how dated the pictures look for the scroll wheel and the iMac support arm next to the current designs in vogue for those products.

The iPod has come a long way from the original image attached to a recent Apple patent award. USPTO