Apple wins patent for in-plane switching
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Apple wins patent for in-plane switching

Apple has won patent (number 8274492) from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for integrated in-plane switching.

This relates to adding multi-touch functionality to a display without the need of a separate multi-touch panel or layer overlaying the display. Instead, embodiments of the invention can advantageously utilize existing display circuitry to provide multi-touch functionality while adding relatively little circuitry that is specific to the multi-touch functionality.

Thus, by sharing circuitry for the display and the multi-touch functionalities, embodiments of the invention can be implemented at a lower cost than the alternative of superimposing additional multi-touch related layers onto an existing display panel. Furthermore, since the display and multi-touch functionality can be implemented on the same circuit, they can be synchronized so that noise resulting from the display functionality does not detrimentally affect the multi-touch functionality and vice versa.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "It can be advantageous for a multi-touch panel to be combined with a display to form an integrated multi-touch display panel. Such a display panel can provide an intuitive interface to many types of devices.

Existing schemes to combine a multi-touch panel with a display can involve mounting a transparent multi-touch panel on top of a display. Alternatively, some existing systems can provide for a higher level of integration, wherein some layers of the multi-touch panel can also act as layers of a display. However, these systems can require that the circuitry performing touch sensing be placed in different layers than circuitry associated with the display functionality. This can result in relatively expensive systems. Furthermore, the brightness of the display can be decreased, as the multi-touch related layers are usually not completely transparent.

"This relates to adding multi-touch functionality to a display without the need of a separate multi-touch panel or layer overlaying the display. Instead, embodiments of the invention can advantageously utilize existing display circuitry to provide multi-touch functionality while adding relatively little circuitry that is specific to the multi-touch functionality.

'Thus, by sharing circuitry for the display and the multi-touch functionalities, embodiments of the invention can be implemented at a lower cost than the alternative of superimposing additional multi-touch related layers onto an existing display panel. Furthermore, since the display and multi-touch functionality can be implemented on the same circuit, they can be synchronized so that noise resulting from the display functionality does not detrimentally affect the multi-touch functionality and vice versa."

The inventors are Steve Porter Hotelling and John Z. Zhong.

Apple has also been granted:

° Patent number 8275666 for managing online content via user supplied and/or refined tagging;

° Patent number 8276074 for an user interface for editing video clips.

 
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