The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has awarded Apple the patent for ‘Slide to Unlock’, the gesture-based input method to unlock the screen of an iOS device.
Originally implemented in Apple’s mobile operating system when it was called iPhone OS (now iOS), the Slide-to-unlock function was demoed on stage by the late Steve Jobs when the CEO was launching his company’s first iPhone (in 2007).
“To unlock the phone, I just take my finger and slide it across,” Jobs said. “Wanna see that again? We wanted something you couldn’t do by accident in your pocket. Just slide it across – Boom!”
The function had been, in fact, originally introduced with a different operating system on a different phone.
(I’m sure many of you already know this, but just to be clear on one aspect) starting now, no other phone, tablet, or computing device can use this feature without infringing on Apple’s patent.
The patent filing enumerates several key names within Apple as the inventors of the Slide-to-unlock feature, including iOS chief Scott Forstall, as well as engineers Imran Chaudhri, Bas Ording, Freddy Allen Anzures, Marcel Van Os, Stephen O. Lemay and Greg Christie.