Apple has been awarded another patent by the United States Patent & Trademark Office, this time it’s patent number 7657849 which grants them the rights to “Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image”. Yes, Apple now owns the familiar slide to unlock feature that has been synonymous with the iPhone… and anyone who uses something remotely familiar will have to pay them royalties, or be charged with patent infringement.
The official description in the filing states that “A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture.”
This “slide to unlock” feature was first publicly shown off in 2007 when the original iPhone was introduced. Steve Jobs took the stage and demoed it by stating “To unlock the phone, I just take my finger and slide it across. Wanna see that again? We wanted something you couldn’t do by accident in your pocket. Just slide it across – BOOM.”