Apple files patent for multi-function handheld device

A new Apple patent application published today by the US Patent & Trademark Office details a “multi-functional handheld device” that has the ability to quickly switch between multiple operating modes. The patent, which was filed in March, describes a device with a touch sensitive screen covering the entire front of the unit and the ability to switch between functionalities such as PDA, cell phone, music player, video player, game player, digital camera, GPS, handtop, and remote control.

“Before a particular device functionality can be used, it typically must be selected for use,” a portion of the filing reads. “The selection can come in a variety of forms. For example, the selection may be made via a main menu that includes soft buttons or icons that, when selected, activate the device functionality associated with the soft button. During activation, the GUI for that particular device is brought into view on the display and the software associated with the device is installed, loaded or activated. From that point on, the multi-functional device operates like the selected device.”

  1. This looks to be quite a bit beyond the clunky PDA’s of yesteryear and the current slew of not-so-Smartphones.

    Apple kicks a** again.

  2. Old patent? Isn’t that the original/2G iPod’s scroll wheel? I realize that a click-wheel is out of the question for this type of screen, but, would they go backwards?

    I think this is just a case of the thinktanks at Apple filing patents for every conceivable concept.

  3. I think Apple’s take on the UMPC [as this, upon first glance, seems to be what it is] would be unique and pretty cool.

    Who knows whether or not it would succeed commercially, though.

  4. i think apple has always used the same drawing for their clickwheel in patent filings. furthermore, this is a virtual clickwheel on the screen. it will most certainly looks better than the 2G wheel.

  5. i just wanted to add that such an item would truly revolutionize the entire handheld electronics industry. might put a few of guys out of business…

  6. Looks pretty nifty.

    Except this: “soft” buttons feel far, far inferior to real buttons.

    I’m not quite sure how Apple is going address that.

  7. As soon as a touch sensitive screen is invented, this idea becomes obvious. I’m glad Apple has the patent because at least they have a good chance of using it, but the fact that it is patentable shows the stupidity of the patent system.

  8. Seriously, you guys need to wake up and remove your green-apple colored spectacles!! Apple is so far behind the curve when it comes to converged devices. See my other comment in the announcement of the iPhone earlier this week. Touch screens have been around forever. Treo smartphones are a darn-sight smarter than the average iPod (the ability to run 3rd party software just might have something to do with this?). Apple has a crappy history with PDAs (the Newton sucked, Palm got it right later). They managed to pretty much screw up the iTunes phone also. Treos can be had for under $300 with a service plan now. Apple’s device will do less, and cost double that amount, and you can prettymuch guarantee it won’t have removable memory.

  9. This raises a difficult question. Does one purchase the next gen iPod likely to be announced on 9/12, or does one wait for this device to come out??

  10. Wow so instead of having a stupid phone like my sony ericsson with way to many menues for you to select from, you would instead select wich device you wanted your ipod “thingy” to be so if you want to listen to music its a music player or make a call its a phone. wow I really love that idea, Its actually my biggest complaint of all my gadjets, stand alone products always work best but i hate carrying so much stuff! I want my phone to work like a phone and my remotes to work like remotes and my music player to work like a music player and my digital camera to work like a camera. This is the solution i am looking for. Im broke but I’ll start saving now!!! I think it should be called “One Love, One Pocket” 🙂

  11. dopial,
    apple diddnt screw up the itunes phone, motorola did. all apple did was give the itunes compatibility and itunes style menues it isnt an apple phone

  12. Ok how about if Apple release full touch screen(4inch+) video ipod and handy smart touch screen phone with full video capibilties. Also may be apple remove shuffle and nano come with new looks and more memory.

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