1. pttptppt's Avatar
    Apple experimenting with multitouch swipe gestures for keyboard in iOS
    As mentioned in the article, apparently, Apple has patented the back swipe currently available on bb10. Will these features come to ios to finally defeat blackberry, or will they sue blackberry?

    Apple experimenting with multitouch swipe gestures for keyboard in iOS
    By Mikey Campbell

    Since iOS debuted in 2007 with the iPhone, Apple has been reluctant to incorporate specialized gestures for the platform's virtual keyboard, but a newly awarded patent reveals such functionality may be incorporated in a future version of the operating system.

    Keyboard Swipe

    Source: USPTO

    Apple's iOS, originally branded "iPhone OS" before taking on the current moniker in 2010, has always relied on touch gestures to navigate its user interface, with swiping and pinch-to-zoom taking the place of monotonous taps and virtual buttons. The input scheme has been adopted in all aspects of the OS, save for one: the keyboard.

    While the keyboard seen in iOS 7 has gone through some design tweaks, the backend has remained largely unchanged from its original incarnation. Apple's current solution is intuitive, with dynamically scaling hit zones, intelligent autocorrect, and a number of other usability features, but some may argue the existing implementation fails to take full advantage of the latest hardware's capabilities.

    Further, Apple does not allow the installation of third-party keyboards for security and system stability reasons, meaning iOS devices can't access apps like the popular Swype for Google's Android.

    Keyboard Swipe

    Apple's current iOS 7 keyboard as seen on and iPhone 5s (left) and iPad mini.

    A patent awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, however, shows Apple is not only open to the idea of buffed virtual QWERTY input, but has been experimenting with the technology since at least 2007.

    Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,542,206 for "Swipe gestures for touch screen keyboards" has roots in the basic touchscreen properties used throughout iOS, but adapts them for a more space-limited use case scenario seen with the keyboard. Although the patent covers single-finger and multi-finger actions, functionality is limited to swiping gestures.

    The document describes a number of functions that can be made available to the user. For example, a swipes can invoke spacing, erasing, punctuation, carriage returns, and other actions common to text entry. In addition, with multi-finger input, these functions may take on degrees, such as deleting a word or even an entire line of text.

    Keyboard Swipe

    Illustrating the invention's utility, the above picture shows a user attempting to enter "ok" in response to a message. While "o" was entered correctly, the user tapped "j" instead of the adjacent "k" button. With the current iOS keyboard, the "j" must be erased with the Delete key if "oj" is not autocorrected to "ok." Apple notes a simple one-finger swipe to the left could stand as a replacement for this action.

    Graphical assets associated with certain functions, like backspace, can be displayed to remind users of the direction in which to swipe to activate a certain key. For example, top hats with arrows facing in the direction of the swipe can be overlaid on the keyboard's GUI when a gesture is invoked.

    Keyboard Swipe

    As mentioned above, a multi-finger implementation can also be employed to augment the key action. In this example, a two-finger swipe to the left would erase the last word typed, while a three-finger swipe would delete the line.

    Other gestures include up swipe to initiate the Shift function, down for a carriage return and right to insert a character space. These, too, can be accompanied by multi-finger options.

    Two-finger swipes up can be translated to Caps Lock, while a three-finger gesture may bring up special accented characters or an international keyboard. Multi-finger swipes to the right could be used to invoke a period and a space, word suggestions and the display a listing of possible word completions. Finally, downward two- and three-finger swipes can enter a punctuation mark or bring up a punctuation pad.

    Keyboard Swipe

    The patent goes into detail regarding input thresholds and how the UI detects and determines what counts as a swipe. In addition, more advanced cases are described that use diagonal swipes for even more functionality.

    It is unclear if Apple will decide to include the technology into a future version of iOS, though the compnay has shown little interest in changing the system-wide keyboard beyond Tuesday's patent.

    Apple's swipe gestures for keyboard patent was first filed for in 2007 and credits Carl Wayne Westerman, Henri Lamiraux and Matthew Evan Dreisbach as its inventors.
    09-24-13 04:59 PM
  2. AnimalPak200's Avatar
    What's interesting is that the patent the author cites is a 'divisional' of an earlier application filed back in June 22nd, 2007. That much earlier application (which, by definition, contains the exact same disclosure) was issued as a patent on November 2011!

    I can't find any TouchType (makers of Swiftkey, which BlackBerry licensed to use on BB10), patents filed that early... so... looks like we might owe our wonderful keyboard gestures to Apple after all.
    09-24-13 05:23 PM
  3. pttptppt's Avatar
    Double face palm should work perfectly right now. LOL

    Can't believe we actually finally stole something from apple. It was about time they sipped their own coccained medicine!
    09-24-13 05:27 PM
  4. SK122387's Avatar
    Didn't BlackBerry get awarded a patent for its BB10 keyboard in July 2012?

    And they applied for one having to do with the swipe to select new word a few weeks ago... I wonder what bearing Apple's patent will have on us..
    09-24-13 05:33 PM
  5. 3hb78ftg's Avatar

    BlackBerry Z...my weapon of choice.
    09-24-13 05:38 PM
  6. MiSsY_'s Avatar


    This gives a pretty decent description, of what Apple want to do. Its not the same as a BB10 keyboard, which I still believe is the best touch keyboard to date. I highly doubt that BlackBerry would just let it go without a fight. Everyone just needs to take a breath.

    Posted via CB10 from my Z10
    Last edited by MiSsY_; 09-24-13 at 06:03 PM.
    09-24-13 05:39 PM
  7. 3hb78ftg's Avatar
    Excepcional comeback.

    BlackBerry Z...my weapon of choice.
    09-24-13 05:41 PM
  8. MiSsY_'s Avatar
    Excepcional comeback.

    BlackBerry Z...my weapon of choice.
    Yup it's all right there, they hold a fantastic keyboard patent

    Posted via CB10 from my Z10
    09-24-13 06:03 PM
  9. AnimalPak200's Avatar
    BlackBerry Files Patents for BlackBerry 10 Keyboard & Toast Notifications - BerryReview

    RIM scores patent for BlackBerry 10 keyboard | CrackBerry.com

    This gives a pretty decent description, of what Apple want to do. Its not the same as a BB10 keyboard, which I still believe is the best touch keyboard to date. I highly doubt that BlackBerry would just let it go without a fight. Everyone just needs to take a breath.
    Apple Swipe Keyboard Patent Shows Cupertino Knows Typing On iOS Is “Tedious” | TechCrunch

    Posted via CB10 from my Z10
    Nah... those RIM/BlackBerry patents are directed to (1) text prediction and (2) how the predictions are displayed. Only the text prediction patent has a filing date (2004) good enough to overcome the 2007 filing date of Apple's patent at issue here. The other two (displaying suggestions in the partitions) were filed in 2012 so you can throw those out the window.

    The concern about the Apple patent is that, as the OP pointed out, it claims the swiping gestures to (among other things): swipe left to delete a word or character, swipe vertically to change to special character keys... both of which are being used by the BB10 keyboard.
    09-24-13 06:45 PM

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