willybfriendly - 6:56 pm on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)
Having scanned (vs studied) the patent, it still appears to me that it is an idea being patented, not a specific solution to an engineering problem. Many references to heuristics (def = "a method of solving problems by finding practical ways of dealing with them, learning from past experience") but nada in the way of specifics.
In other words, the patent appears to cover the idea of converting tactile interactions into operational commands - as if one could patent the wagging of a finger as a form of communication. That strikes me as silly.
On the other hand, the algorithms that convert voltage changes induced by pressure and movement into specific instructions to be processed by the operating system - those instructions burned into ROM - would certainly be worthy of protection. By analogy, the code is the truss design, while the idea of "multi-touch" is the bridge.
The idea of converting touch or motion into command instructions is hardly original with Apple. Look at almost any SF movie of the past 20 years and you will see it displayed. The specific solution to the engineering problem is all that is Apple's creation. As with any engineering problems, there are likely many routes from point A to point B. If, then, else, switch...