Apple may have only ditched Google Maps in the most recent version of iOS, but the interface has been Apple-driven for a long time. Apple just recieved a patent for a “touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for providing maps, directions, and location-based information.” Sounds broad. Apple applied for the patent back in June 2008, but it was awarded today.
The claims cover a wide variety of touchscreen mechanisms for interacting with maps. As a user of iOS maps, they’re pretty click efficient, and this is a patent covering all the different ways that Apple achieved that. But the claims are broad, and someone watching the current patent legal battles wonders (and worries) whether the claims can be applied to other popular mapping apps, like Google’s Android application. For instance, a claim relating to dropping a pin:
A non-transitory computer readable storage medium storing one or more programs… in response to determining that the single finger gesture is a single tap gesture that moves the finger contact area less than a second predetermined distance and lasts less than a second predetermined time, display the user-selectable region, which when selected initiates display of an interface for obtaining information associated with the marker on the touch screen display…”
Which sounds like a patent to determine the difference between a tap and moving the entire map. Pretty broad! One can just imagine what Apple can do with this patent when they get working maps. Take a look at the official patent here.
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