Apple receives patent for iPod scroll wheel
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent granted to Apple, Inc. which broadly covers the iPod’s use of a touch-sensitive scrolling surface for accessing media in combination with on-screen and possibly audio scrolling cues. Titled “Touch pad for handheld device” and originally filed in 2006, U.S. Patent 7,348,967 describes a handheld music player that “includes a controller disposed inside the housing and configured to acquire motion information from the touch pad assembly and to control various features of the music player based on motion information provided by the touch pad assembly. The features include at least moving the visual indicator through the list of songs. The direction and speed of the movement of the visual indicator is based at least in part on the direction and speed of the finger sliding across the planar touch surface of the touch pad assembly.” The associated images (pictured) show an early (first- or second-generation) iPod, with a touch wheel and separate control buttons for selection, track forward/backward, play, and pause. As explained, the patent could conceivably cover certain post-iPod touch-based media players, such as recent Microsoft Zunes. [via MacNN]
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