Apple has been granted 20 new patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The office published the official list yesterday, which in addition to including patents on integrated touch screens and voice mail manager, also covers up a majority of the technical side; that of printed circuit boards, metadata processing and a system for estimating where a computer is located to improve online shipping experiences.
Apple’s first granted patent is for that of the Integrated Touch Screen and it relates to touch sensing circuitry integrated to display pixel stackups (like that of an LCD display). Touch sensing circuitry can also include touch signal lines, such as drive lines and sense lines, grounding regions, and other circuitry.
Apple had applied to patent this system in the September of 2009. The above mentioned capability of the system can be manufactured using fewer parts and processing steps, and the resulting display itself can be made thinner and brighter with requirements for less power.
The other notable patent was for the Voicemail Manager for Portable Multifunction Device. This one was filed on June 28, 2007 (a day prior to the launch of the first iPhone).
This patent introduces an easy to use multi-touch based GUI for the iPhone that allows users to access voicemail functionality without any hassles. It details the option to select a voice mail from a list and control its playback with a running counter.
Apple’s also got one other patent that relates to the running of the Mac OS X application from the dock when u drag a file onto it, even when you are not running the app at that time. This patent also covers synchronizing a user’s dock settings from one device to another.