Apple was granted 22 new patents this week, three of which relate to iOS and are of some interest to end users. Those three involve prioritizing mobile media player files, song flow methodology in random playback, and a graphical user interface for viewing multiple application windows.
With Patently Apple reporting that the iPod touch or perhaps the music app may be next in line for a legal battle, the iOS patents granted this week may come in handy in Apple’s defense of their existing systems.
Apple’s Three New iOS Patents, courtesy Patently Apple
The prioritizing media files patent (No. 8,214,315) provides for a method of filling available space on a media device using taste data and/or rankings. It defines a way to build a playlist to accomplish the task of either adding or subtracting files based on available space.
Patent No. 8,214,740 defines a method to play back media in a random order, but also allows for items that are to be played in a specific order (think Queen’s We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions). This patent allows for metadata tags to allow for this sequencing information. So when a sequenced item shows up in a random playlist, it knows to include the items tied to and play them in the appropriate order.
The remaining patent (No. 8,214,768) describes a way to indicate hidden windows on a touchscreen device and a way to navigate between active and hidden windows. This appears to describe the familiar features of the Safari web browser where there is an icon in the corner displaying how many pages are open even if only one is being shown, as well as the method of swiping between hidden windows to make one active.
With the continuous stream of litigation over patents, Apple has a few more that it must now defend.