Apple Granted Limited Patent on Pinch-to-Zoom

Ryan Whitwam

Apple has been awarded a patent on the so-called "pinch-to-zoom" multitouch gesture today. Apple originally applied for the patent back in late 2006, and many have speculated that other manufacturers were slow to implement the technology for fear of Apple's lawyers. Still, the patent granted is limited in scope.

The patent describes a standard multitouch image manipulation, but part of the approved scheme involves a second gesture. Specifically, contact with the screen is broken, then new contacts are recognized to perform a second gesture within a predefined period of time. How long is that? It could be just about any length of time. This patent doesn't directly apply unless a timer is running to detect a second input.

This isn't going to be the end of multitouch on phones. It is however, more ammunition for Apple to use when they go after companies for infringement. How do you think Apple will make use of this patent?

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