It appears that the folks over at Patently Apple have found themselves in possession of a lovely cornucopia of newly won patent applications created by Apple over the past however-many years, this including such gems as the second generation iPod Shuffle and the ability to switch between applications during a call on the iPhone. As per usual, these patents don’t necessarily point towards anything that’ll be released in the near future, and in the case of the iPod Shuffle certainly weren’t meant to be kept under wraps for long, but each are interesting to glance upon to know the process. As you’ll find here first of all, Steve Jobs name still remains very much engrained in the guts of these transactions.
The first of these applications details a button which allows the user to switch apps on their iPhone while they remain on a call. This application shows that you’ll be able to finger tap the application switch icon on the same screen as their phone dialer, then switch back with a “Touch to return to call” bar above the display when they want to do so. This functionality has essentially been replaced by the multitasking abilities of iOS 5 since this application was made. This original patent was filed in Q1 of 2008 and credits Senior VP of iPhone Software Scott Forstall and team members Greg Christie, Stephen Lemay, Marcel Van Os and Imran Chaudhri.
Next there’s the second generation iPod Shuffle which does indeed credit Steve Jobs as one of its designers. Interestingly, the parts that are made up of broken lines in the image above are not claimed in the patent while the main bulk of the device is. Finally there’s a “Microperforated and backlit displays having alternative display capabilities,” this relating to an earlier patent win which also has to do with all the bits on your Apple computer that are invisible until a light comes on behind them. Think of the breathing light indicator at the front of your MacBook, for example.