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Apple awarded patent rights for original iOS Maps app GUI

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent for the graphical user interface used in all versions of the iOS Maps app since the software was first introduced in iPhone OS 2.0 and the iPhone 3G in 2008.

Map Patent
Source: USPTO


Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,302,033 for a "Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for providing maps, directions, and location-based information," which described the backbone UI for the Maps app that continues to be used in the latest iOS 6.

Apple's Maps app debuted with the second generation iPhone OS, which would later be called iOS, and was powered by Google Maps until the most recent iteration of the software ditched the search giant's service for a proprietary solution created in-house.

First filed for one month before the iPhone 3G debuted in July 2008, Apple's patent sought to improve upon the then-current state of GPS systems by leveraging the iPhone's multitouch display, GPS receiver and wireless communications assets.

From the patent's background:

Some portable communication devices (e.g., mobile telephones, sometimes called mobile phones, cell phones, cellular telephones, and the like) have resorted to adding more pushbuttons, increasing the density of push buttons, overloading the functions of pushbuttons, or using complex menu systems to allow a user to access, store and manipulate data.


In addition to ridding the device of unsightly and inflexible buttons, Apple looked to enhance user interaction by inventing a totally new UI that eschewed the "time consuming requirement to memorize multiple key sequences and menu hierarchies" associated with existing solutions.

Book width=


Simply put, the invention replaced physical buttons with an interactive GUI that was able to adapt and change dynamically in response to system or user requests. By sliding a finger across an iPhone's display, a user was able to navigate within the digital map. In contrast, many devices at the time required push buttons to scroll through map sections that were accessed in chunks.

Another function covered by the '033 patent was bookmarking. A user was able to access bookmarked locations, a list of recent searches, or a list of contacts by touching their on-screen representations, which would then display the asset's location on a digital map. In the original Maps, bookmarked locations were accessible by touching a blue book icon in the app's search bar.

Bookmarks worked in the same way as the current iOS Maps app, and can be stored by scrolling through the map data and placing a marker via a touch-and-hold finger gesture, which would result in a "dropped pin" animation. Users simply use the same method to "pick up" the pin, which can be moved to a new location. This same input could also be used to initiate routing operations as well as other functions, such as the now deprecated Google Street View.

Bookmarks
Bookmark screen.


Zooming in and out also remains the same as outline by the 2008 patent, with two-finger pinching and other gestures covering how a map is displayed on screen. Also included in the overall aesthetic was the options menu hidden behind the maps screen, which could be accessed by touching the bottom right corner of the display or swiping up from said corner to activate a "roll up" animation. To close the menu, which contained options like a traffic overlay, a user simply swiped down or touched a specific area of the display to initiate a "roll down" animation that brought the map back into view.

In addition to the basic navigation of Maps, the invention called on the iPhone's cellular communications platform to deliver route and mapping information, thus negating the need for on-board storage of an entire map data set. This also allowed for the inclusion of the familiar blue dot and surrounding circle that denotes either the exact location or approximate location of a device, depending on GPS signal strength or cell tower triangulation.

While many of the patent's assets are still used in the most recent iOS Maps version, some have been tweaked as Apple ended its contract with Google Maps to create its own standalone mapping service. Despite being met with criticism for drastically changing the underlying data set, the new app uses many of the GUI assets first outlined in the '033 patent over four years ago.
post #2 of 12
With so many patents overturned by judges it is hard to be excited about this knowing it might not be upheld by the courts.

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Please update the AppleInsider app to function in landscape mode.

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post #3 of 12

While google is responsible for the mapping tech, this UI is all Apple (apparently).  Regarding the accuracy of iOS 6 Maps, I haven't had an issue with it.

post #4 of 12
Who can they sue first?
post #5 of 12
On a slightly different tack, I hope Apple have lots of patents on everything they can relating to vector based maps on mobile devices.

Update ... I mean the 3D stuff ...
Edited by digitalclips - 10/30/12 at 11:42am
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

On a slightly different tack, I hope Apple have lots of patents on everything they can relating to vector based maps on mobile devices.

Curious what you feel is "patentable" about vector-based maps on a mobile device. It's not as tho both TomTom and Nokia haven't offered them for years. Going even further I personally don't see what would be considered innovative in displaying a vector map on a smartphone vs. showing a vector map on an old Garmin PND from "back in the day". Then again I suppose that might be proof that the Patent Office would find a good reason to issue one tho.lol.gif

melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

With so many patents overturned by judges it is hard to be excited about this knowing it might not be upheld by the courts.



The problem I see with the patents thing is that I feel everyone copies before the patent is granted to the point that it becomes mainstream and then you have people saying it's so common that the patent should be revoked.  Well... it became commonplace because it was a great idea... that should not preclude issuing a patent for it to the ones who came up with it.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Curious what you feel is "patentable" about vector-based maps on a mobile device. It's not as tho both TomTom and Nokia haven't offered them for years. Going even further I personally don't see what would be considered innovative in displaying a vector map on a smartphone vs. showing a vector map on an old Garmin PND from "back in the day". Then again I suppose that might be proof that the Patent Office would find a good reason to issue one tho.lol.gif

I was thinking about the 3D, sorry should have said that. The actual SAAB system Apple acquired had some pretty advanced features I doubt were in the systems you mention. I was thinking about those sort of things. I'm not sure Tom Tom were mapping their vector maps with near real time 3D building generation for example. Watch some of the videos about the system as it was when a millitary attack system. Apple have not scratched the surface yet of what they have. Damn, did I just say 'surface'?
Edited by digitalclips - 10/30/12 at 6:02pm
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #9 of 12
So Apple just patented Google's UI?

The patent system is completely broken. This is beyond absurd.
post #10 of 12
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post
So Apple just patented Google's UI?
The patent system is completely broken. This is beyond absurd.

 

What's beyond absurd is that trolls who say this think they can ever be taken seriously by anyone.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

What's beyond absurd is that trolls who say this think they can ever be taken seriously by anyone.

 

How about focusing on the topic at hand and not the people behind such statements?

 

Your response should've been on WHY this patent isnt absurd instead of attacking the "trolls".

 

Attack the idea not the people behind the idea. In other words, dont hate the player, hate the game.

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post
How about focusing on the topic at hand and not the people behind such statements?

 

Your response should've been on WHY this patent isnt absurd instead of attacking the "trolls".

 

BA HA HA! Oh, that's good. Once there's an actual topic, I'll respond to it.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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