Apple granted 36 patents covering Siri mic icon design, Lightning, widgets and more

By , Nov 27, 2012

Apple this morning has received patents covering more than three dozen different technologies, ranging from the obvious to the obscure. The company’s patent filings as of late are even inspiring parody treatments like the Apple alphabet patent. Among today’s grants are the filings describing ways to interface sports equipment with your iPhone, iPad or iPod, patents for Mac OS X dashboards and the MacBook keyboard and others seeking to protect icons and designs of popular software features.

Most people know of Apple’s long-time association with Nike and the Nike+ app that records your running routine. Earlier this year, the Cupertino, California company filed a patent to go one step farther, interfacing your iPhone with a treadmill, or other workout machine at the local gym. Now it appears that patent was granted. But, wait, there’s plenty more gadgets and gizmos Apple wants protected…

The U.S. Trademark and Patent Office granted Apple 37 patents today, according to PatentlyApple which is covering these things extensively on a daily basis.

In one instance, Apple was granted a patent for the Mac OS X  Dashboard feature, basically a method of organizing applications via widgets that was unveiled with OS X 10.4 Tiger in April of 2005. Apple applied for the patent in June 2011, making it the third patent the company owns regarding the Mac OS X Dashboard feature.

If you love working on your MacBook in the dark, thank Apple’s illuminated keyboard. The technology behind the keyboard is now part of Apple’s patent portfolio. The patent application was filed in 2008.

Among the passel of patents awarded Tuesday to Apple are several apparently aimed at thwarting third-parties cashing in on inexpensive Lightning cable alternatives.

What’s also intriguing is the timing: Although Apple didn’t admit the existence of the Lightning connector until September 2012, the package design patent applications were filed November 23, 2011, according to PatentlyApple.

Apple may have also received more ammunition in its patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung. The U.S. Patent Office granted the iPhone maker a patent on the Siri icon.


The Siri mic icon design is now a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.

Of course, it resembles the real thing quite a bit.

The final implementation of the mic icon in Siri on the iPhone.

The Samsung’s S-Voice feature shamelessly rips off Siri’s interface, per court documents Apple filed in June seeking to put a stop on Galaxy S III imports to the United States.


The S-Voice on the Galaxy S III features Siri-like graphics

Other patents awarded are a bit more esoteric, dealing with the nuts-and-bolts of the iOS interface, as well as other matters.

PatentlyApple has the complete list of Apple patents awarded today.

Just wondering, do you think stuff like the look of the Siri mic icon should be patentable?

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  • remydlc

    no they shouldn’t… People stop acting like it was Picasso who create another Mona Lisa with this icon…. For God’s sake, did they invent the MICROPHONE? What if whoever invented the microphone patented every design that has something to do with it? what that hell would companies like Apple/Samsung use to represent their PDA icon? Apple is getting ridiculous and Sammy could have used another stupid icon. Though they are different color and the whole icon is different, but they are just making Apple patent stupid sh1t like this. People stop acting like it was Picasso who create another Mona Lisa with this icon.

    • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

      You don’t get it.. Go work your f**king as* off and present a design and then you will obviously want to patent it so that no one else simply rips off all the hard work you did designing the thing and steals your design.
      Do some artistic work and you’ll understand.

      • remydlc

        artistic work? LMAO, really? Look, things like this have been happening since computers were invented. Folders/hardrives/CD/DVDs/Movies/AIMs/Documents/etc icons are copied by every plattform/OS/Application you name it. Apple themselves have done it million times. so what is the big deal? It seems you are the one that dont get Apple is more a patent troll than anything else. Many people are getting sick of them already.

      • Guest

        What they are saying is that yes, it is a gaphic of a microphone, but it doesn’t have to be the exact same graphic, there are thousands of different ways to represent a microphone graphic but instead have just ripped Apple off.

        A folder is obviously what it is called but look at the difference in the graphics. Both Apple & Microsoft have approached the design in different ways hence the difference in icons.

      • remydlc

        I have used close to 20 different OS, some of the are gone, those are not counting the different Linux flavors, or BSD variants, if you count those, then close to 40. Have tried their different interfaces, most which evolved in newer versions of the OS, and I would be lying to you if I tell you most of their icons look different because they dont. Some have different colors/effect added to them, but at the end, we consumers, benefit from having standard icons across platforms. So patents like these do not make Apple least of a troll.

      • ic0dex

        Dude these people don’t get it. Look @remydlc Apple sat there and designed that logo from scratch and yes it does resemble a Mic but its still a design. So in order for you to keep that design safe and not have other companies use it you have to patent everything you create. Again it’s the design and the function that is patent and not the Mic.

        Would you have said the same thing if Samsung was granted the patent instead of Apple? No… Why is that? Because you people think Apple is trying to dominate the digital market! Wait a minute don’t all companies have the same goal like Microsoft, Google, Samsung and Sony to be the best that there is? Please stop hating on Apple just because they were granted a patent, remember Samsung gets patents to that Apple can not get.

      • remydlc

        wait, did you say hating on apple? not at all dude. im hating on the fact they can submit a patent like this. the system is broken. If samsumg/google or other company do the same, my words would still stand. This is NOT ART!! is a MICROPHONE they put on a icon!!!!!… stop acting like Apple is Picasso designing a Monalisa. You seems to be blinded and you are over reacting when people talk about Apple. Now, their cable is fine, they created it and it has technology behind it. A 3 years old can design an icon we can all benefit from…

      • ic0dex

        A perfect UI has to be a work of Art in order for people to like it. Would you use a Windows Phone ruining a 16 bit UI like windows 95?

      • remydlc

        see exactly my point, the UI has evolved from windows 95 to whatever OSes we have today. Imagine Microsoft patented all the basic icons for folders, drives, dvd, floppy, cds what could have apple used for their OS? and yes, it is art because it comes from imagination, but just copying something, eg a microphone, that’s not art, just regular design.

      • ic0dex

        What you’re talking about is something similar to 1904 Selden vs Ford court case ( http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aacarsseldona.htm ) and I completely understand what you’re saying but in todays world you have to protect yourself from everyone and I can say this from personal experiences. I think if you or I owned Apple or Samsung we would have jumped on that patent the same way Apple did.

  • Pratik Panchal

    Apple shouldn’t be allowed to patent the mic design as it has no point in it. Its simply a waste of time as apple is unable to face the competition

    • ic0dex

      So lets say if Apple was denied the patent and Samsung placed the same exact icon for their Samsung Galaxy S lll, do you think it would be fair for Apple that paid people to design that and put time to implement it into their iOS?

      Would it be fair if you were a photographer and you took this amazing photo and some other company took you photo and made millions from it. How would you feel then? You wouldn’t like it right because you would feel that they are ripping you off. Well the same thing applies here for Apple. And if really did not have a point then why did Samsung use a similar design for their Siri like product?

      • remydlc

        i think he means Apple nor anyone can patent an icon… Say you switched platform, and go to android or microsoft, wouldnt it be better to have a similar looking icon instead of having a different icon because a troll patented an “icon”? what if Microsoft patents every “folder” icon there is, what is apple going to use in OSX? see where i am going? And are you implying Samsung is making millions because of this icon? The mic shape is exactly the same, but the whole icon is different, a circle vs an oval background.

      • ic0dex

        What I’m trying to say is these companies invest a lot of money into developing a beautiful UI and what gets me mad is when Apple gets to a patent first everyone gets upset. This is the business world this is how everything works you have to protect yourself from others. If it wasn’t for patents Samsung would have created a phone that looks exactly like the iPhone and called it sPhone lll or Apple would have done that to Samsung if the Galaxy S was as popular as the iPhone. I don’t have nothing against Samsung I own 2 of their TV’s but they are copy cats when it come to PC’s,Cell Phones and Tablets. And YES Apple has stolen designs too and got in trouble for it and payed out a lot of money.

      • remydlc

        Apple is the only one patenting this ridiculous icons to later start suing people for this BS instead of spend that money innovating. Audi didnt patent their LED headlights, now you see Mercedez, Lexus, GMC, Chryslers, everybody and their mother using them and for most people it looks nice. different industries but you get the point. the consumer is the one benefiting from Audi bringing that idea and design to cars. It seems to me you are a fanboy who are just defending Apple because they are… Apple. People arent buying samsung phones because they look similar to iphones at all. if they are, then they are just idiots who can buy whatever people sell them. I clearly have an apple in the back on my phone and i know what an iphone looks like. A hidden icon wont tell me a Galaxy phone is an iphone. Apple is just abusing the patent system. I dont see nothing wrong with that as long as the law allows it, but it is just MO.

      • Graham Brand

        [sigh]

        That icon has been used in Android for the voice recognition feature since at last v1.5 Cupcake, released in April 2009. As such it predates Apple’s Siri icon by several years.

        See: http://images.intomobile.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/android-cupcake-widgets.jpg

        The original Siri app, bought by Apple, did feature an icon of an RCA microphone, but with a fatter triangular base, and supports sticking out to each side.

        In fact, you could argue that in redesigning the icon for the iOS 4S Siri release, Apple moved it closer to Android’s version.

      • remydlc

        nice finding. these fanbois are getting ridiculous, patenting an icon is fine??? give me a break…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000514380051 John Sklikas

    The Siri Mic can be patentable because there are millions of other ways to implement this feature with another icon. Lightning is a cable invented by Apple, so they have the right to patent it. What they have not invented, is page turn and they sholdn’t have the right to patent page turn.

  • http://twitter.com/derekuro Derek Lam.WJ.

    let just say this, no one likes their things stolen. you spent so much effort,time, money on something and then someone decides to steal it. it’s normal to protect something you spend so much on so yeah, Apple’s Siri mic can be patented.

    • remydlc

      see the comment above mine, from Graham, so it seems Google can patent the icon and sue Apple…

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Crapple is at it yet again, out to rip competition apart and put an end to consumer choice….hmm, come to think about it, that should be their slogan “Choice, taken away from you by Crapple”.