The online Apple Store, now with iOS touch-friendly navigation

Apple's online store has over time implemented a bunch of tweaks aimed at improving navigation and browsing product pages on Apple's mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad.

For instance, I've always liked the ability to swipe through teaser images on landing pages for specific products.

Here's an example: fire up Safari on your iPhone or iPad, visit and swipe through those big, beautiful product shots at the top. But the company isn't stopping there.

Having recently hired dozens of engineers, visual designers and web developers, Apple has now introduced a fresh set of tweaks to the online Apple Store, including the touch-friendly navigation bar which appears right below the main product sections (iPod, iPad etc.)...

Apple envisions multitouch gestures on blank screens

Apple Tuesday was granted an intriguing multitouch patent with a wrinkle: no screen display necessary. Instead of glancing down at your iPod during a workout to adjust the volume or skip past an annoying track, you simply touch the screen. The patent, first filed in 2009, opens up a number of potential benefits, including extending battery life.

Rather than your iPod nano's screen displaying controls such as sliders, Apple envisions devices accepting multitouch user input even when a screen itself is blank. Not only would this open the potential for eliminating hardware controls, but the technology may also become part of everyday devices ranging from your iPhone, iWatch or even iGlasses, should Apple decide to compete with Google...

Microsoft and Samsung try to patent Apple’s already patented pinch-zooming

In a 'how low can they go' moment, both software giant Microsoft and the South Korean conglomerate Samsung have moved to patent the pinch-zoom concept that Apple popularized (and patented) on mobile devices with the introduction of the iPhone six years ago, as if Apple's technology never existed.

Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly hit the roof after HTC in early 2010 launched a handset with pinch-to-zoom functionality, but the two companies recently settled their patent disputes. On the strength of its iPhone patent portfolio, Apple even forced Google to agree to disabling multitouch on early Android devices sold outside the United States.

Now, Apple claims a specific software implementation that's different than that Google used in Jelly Bean, Android version 4.2. Be that as it may, it's funny both Microsoft and Samsung patent filings now suggest pinch zooming was their invention...

Apple wins 26 patents, including multitouch and more

Apple was granted more than two dozen patents today, including technology for multitouch sensors dating back to 2007, when the original iPhone debuted. Also approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Apple patents covering the iOS magnifying loupe, noise-cancellation and even product packaging.

The multitouch patent, which covers the layout of screen sensors in the first iPhone, as well as future touch devices, follows a broad patent granted earlier this year covering a wide range of potential uses for multitouch, including aircraft instruments. For some time, Apple and its chief rival Samsung have fought over patents, culminating in a $1 billion victory for Apple, which charged the South Korean company infringed upon technology owned by the iPhone maker...

USPTO preliminary invalidates key Steve Jobs iPhone patent

The ultimate smartphone patent which covers the intricacies of the iPhone's touch screen heuristics has been preliminary invalidated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), reveals the FOSS Patents blog which covers intellectual property and litigation in the technology industry.

That's bad news as USPTO in October also invalidated the famous rubber banding patent, Apple's other prized iPhone invention. Now, all is not lost because many patent claims that are rejected at the early stage do ultimately survive, though the prospect of loosing the iconic multitouch patent is without any doubt a major concern for Apple, even with plenty of other multitouch-related patents the company now holds...

Apple researching facial-zooming and quieter iPhone vibration

Apple has applied to patent new technology designed to solve two annoying problems. One filing addresses that "silent" iPhone which you set to "vibrate" but instead noisily dances across tables and other hard surfaces. The other patent application could come in handy for iPhone and iPad mini owners constantly resizing their screens for a better view. However, the most intriguing invention Apple seeks to patent measures the distance of an iDevice owner's face from a screen, using a combination of the camera or other proximity sensor. Differing modes would then automatically adjust the size of content being viewed...

Dutch court rules Samsung did not violate Apple’s prized multitouch gesture patents

A court in The Netherlands let Samsung off the hook, ruling that some of the South Korean conglomerate's many Galaxy smartphones and tablets did not infringe upon Apple's prized patents related to multitouch gestures on iPhones and iPads. As you know, Apple took Samsung and other handset makers to court, arguing they copied the zoom to pinch feature and other multi-finger gestures on iOS devices.

This ruling alone won't help Samsung evade the $1+ billion payout from a massive loss in the Apple vs. Samsung mega-suit in the United States. The U.S International Trade Commission is set to determine on Thursday whether Samsung really infringed on Apple's patents...

How Apple planned for the iPad mini with improved Multi-Touch in iOS 6

It's always good to think two or three steps ahead to prepare for any situation, and that's obviously what Apple's been doing when it comes to the iPad mini, and iOS 6.

As we told you about earlier, improvements needed to be added to iOS' Multi-Touch in order to accommodate the smaller bezel of the iPad mini. With the mini, you no longer have the luxury of a half-inch bezel wrapping around the screen like the bigger iPad models.

That means that fingers and thumbs will now rest on the actual screen of the device instead of the bezel, and this would in turn result in a litany of false positive finger inputs. If the iPad mini shipped with iOS 5, such an issue would be a major problem.

Fortunately, as iPhoneinCanada points out, Apple planned well ahead in advance for such a scenario. As it turns out, the iPhone and iPod touch versions of iOS 6 shipped with improved Multi-Touch out of the gate. Take a look inside as we compare iOS 5's Multi-Touch detection, with the improved and iPad mini ready iOS 6.

The iPad mini’s skinnier side bezels had Apple refine multitouch

The iPad mini's 7.9-inch display is packed inside what The Verge's Joshua Topolsky deemed “an incredibly thin and light design”. Part of that design: the skinnier side bezels that we first caught a glimpse of in early mockups. The problem is, there's no way your thumb could rest on the side bezels without touching the display.

Enter Apple's multitouch expertise. When Steve Jobs was unveiling the iPhone in January 2007, he praised its multitouch user interface for being able to detect and ignore unintended taps and swipes. "It's super smart", he quipped.

It's all done in iOS and Apple had to refine its multitouch software so the iPad mini can automatically figure out when your thumb is simply resting on the display instead of interacting with the gizmo...

Samsung and Apple duke it out over whose multitouch is better

The Apple v. Samsung mega-suit may be behind us, but the legal spat between the two frenemies is far from over. Both companies are embroiled in complicated litigation spread across ten countries the world over. In a Hague, Netherlands court, for example, Samsung locked horns with Apple over who copied who concerning multitouch technology.

Samsung resorted to some interesting tactics there, claiming that its multitouch implementation is less capable than Apple's in an effort to prove it didn't breach any of Apple's many patents related to multitouch...

Google re-invents patent system, says iPhone inventions belong to everyone

Google is feeling lots of heat lately as Apple, Microsoft and Oracle show some notable progress with Android lawsuits. Apple in particular holds a number of patents that cover trademark features the iPhone popularized, like slide to unlock and other multitouch gestures.

The Internet giant should also beware of the latest Apple patent grant which covers virtually all of the iPhone's user interface innovations. Perhaps in realization of its defensiveness, Google has changed tactics.

The company is now arguing that because the iPhone has become so popular, Apple's proprietary and patented inventions should really become industry essential patents. Seriously?

Former iAd VP Andy Miller now heads 3D motion-control startup Leap Motion

As noted by The Next Web, Apple's former chief of iAd unit Andy Miller became chief operating officer at Leap Motion, the company wrote in a release. Miller founded mobile advertising startup Quattro Wireless whose chief rival at the time had been AdMob, later acquired by Google.

When Cupertino snapped up his company in January 2010, Miller was named the head of Apple's iAd platform. He left last August amid talk that iAd was going nowhere. Now, Leap Motion is a very interesting company, especially their Kinect-like device (video right after the break)...