back to article New Apple keyboard patent may spell trouble for Android

The US Patent and Trademark Office has handed Apple's legal team what may turn out to be a powerful weapon in their ongoing battles against anyone with the temerity to launch products competitive with the iPhone and iPad: a patent on soft keyboards that modify their keys with the tap of an on-screen button. Granted on Tuesday …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    prior art!

    i have a Motorola A925 that does this ... which definitely pre-dates fruity phones

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. John Bailey
        Happy

        Re: prior art!

        Great.. So it's out of patent then.

      2. Big Dumb Guys Wife
        Trollface

        Re: prior art!

        PLEASE DON'T VOTE DOWN MY HUSBAND. HE MISSES THAT NEWTON, IT WAS LIKE A BROTHER / FATHER TO HIM. I THINK THAT'S WHY HE SHOUTS!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >"LIKE A BROTHER/FATHER TO HIM"

          Say, are you guys from the Ozarks?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Paris Hilton

            Re: >"LIKE A BROTHER/FATHER TO HIM"

            IF WE WERE BOTHER AND SISTER THEN OBVIOUSLY WE WOULD BE BRITISH CITIZENS

            1. Big Dumb Guys Wife

              Re: >"LIKE A BROTHER/FATHER TO HIM"

              ITEM 4 ON MY LIST OF THINGS THAT BDG HAS ASKED ME TO DO

              MEND THE SPELLCHUCKER ON THE COMPYTER

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Troll fail.

              Sorry, but "NO U" is always lose. I declare spnak and victory!

    2. The BigYin

      Re: prior art!

      Never mind a phone, bloody XBMC has had this for sodding ages. Probably other applications designed for only mouse/controller/IR input too.

      Just because this "modifiable on-screen keyboard thingy" is now implemented on a phone rather than a desktop/TV is not a good enough reason to make it patentable.

      And on top of that, having a button to switch "layouts" to keep the screen organised is w-a-y too bloody obvious and is used time-and-again in a whole host of areas for managing features/options.

      Seriously, the USPTO need a kick in the knackers.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      whats

      the point in getting uptight bout it?

      Chill.

      1. The BigYin

        Re: whats

        @AC - What's the point? because it stifles innovation, prevents new products coming to market and can stop a whole industry moving forward. That's why. The whole Internet was found on technology that was patent-free. Do you think it would have gone as far as it did if was riddled with patent caner?

        Patents have a place, so long as the are good patents about something truly new/non-obvious. The patents the USPTO a granting willy-nilly for tech ideas are just such cobblers. Thankgoodness (for now) the the EU doesn't allow software patents.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          But, since the system IS in place...

          ...when you use a feature you either patent it to protect yourself, even if it's possible it won't stand, or you wait for someone else to patent it and have to defend yourself. Not filing a patent is prima facie evidence you didn't feel you had any rights in the matter.

          1. Richard 81

            Re: But, since the system IS in place...

            A broken system is worse than no system at all.

          2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: But, since the system IS in place...

            >> Not filing a patent is prima facie evidence you didn't feel you had any rights in the matter.

            There is not enough facepalm in the multiverse to describe the brainrot evidenced here.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But, since the system IS in place...

            ... and that's gonna cost me about a grand for every line of code I write. No ta!

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But, since the system IS in place...

            "or you wait for someone else to patent it and have to defend yourself"

            That's not really how, even the broken, patents system works.

            If you invent something like this just publish the fact, get a notorised copy put in the safe or send a copy to your lawyers.

            You are then immune from being sued for the same thing (and if you're feeling generous stopping anyone else from being sued). There is clear recorded prior art and you've just cost someone money having to go through the process of filing a worthless patent.

            You only need to patent it if you wish to stop the competition using it or you wish to build up your patent portfolio as part of the patent arms race.

          5. Zippy the Pinhead

            Re: But, since the system IS in place...

            No you contact the valid patent holder and obtain a license to use the technology. Failing that you can be sued.

    4. Bob Vistakin
      Happy

      Re: prior art!

      Lawyers - bookmark this thread, I suspect it will grow into a useful resource.

      Here's the Sony Ericsson P800 from 2001: http://www.flickr.com/photos/takenbyhim/5154996194/ and the Ericsson R380 it was the sucessor to: http://www.gsmarena.com/ericsson_r380-195.php, both of which did exactly this OBVIOUS function for a soft keyboard.

  2. Jeebus

    But it isn't Apple prior art, it should be mentioned that Apple can and will buy the absolute rights, no matter who did it first, because only Apple exist in the world of IP.

  3. KrisMac
    Thumb Down

    Yay for the f@#$ed up US Patent system..

    ..way to go United States of F$%^ed UP... you are screwing up your own industries by crushing innovation. good one guys..

    1. asdf
      FAIL

      Re: Yay for the f@#$ed up US Patent system..

      Funny how that happens when most of the law makers are/were lawyers. Its all about billable hours baby. Who gives a shit about the public.

      1. Neill Mitchell

        What do you call 1000 patent lawyers at the bottom of the Atlantic?

        A good start.

        1. Steve Renouf
          Thumb Up

          Re: What do you call 1000 patent lawyers at the bottom of the Atlantic?

          Upvoted for... well, obvious really.

          What do you call it when ALL the F$%^$£%G patent lawyers are at the bottom of the Atlantic?

          JOB! WELL! DONE!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Why won't sharks bite patent lawyers?

            Professional courtesy.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Did you hear scientists are replacing lab rats with patent lawyers?

              Two reasons, really.

              Number one, they used to get quite attached to the rats.

              And number two, there are some things a rat just won't do.

              1. John H Woods Silver badge

                Re: Did you hear scientists are replacing lab rats with patent lawyers?

                You forgot (3) only a finite number of rats in world :-)

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    So basically...

    the radical thought is to get something to happen by touching a touch screen.

    It's time to consign the US Patent Office to the dustbin of history.

  5. Trib

    Windows has had an on screen keyboard for a while now. It has button that when you click on them change the layout of the keyboard. For example, when I press the 'shift' key, all of my letters turn upper case. Isn’t a parent supposed to be something that 'someone skilled in the art' wouldn’t think of easily? I don’t make smartphones or computer operating systems, but I could have come up with this idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      skilled in the art...

      Supposedly, as you say the invention is non obvious and requires an inventive step by those skilled in the art. Perhaps those rules are different in the us.

      Eitherway i cannot understand how such patents for non-inventions can be awarded.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: skilled in the art...

        True, also didnt windows 95 have floating keyboards that altered configuration for the virtual keybaord? Ive seen these things in the windows of bus stations etc. I cannot see how they will enforce it

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other overblown and misanalysed patent news

    Google patent may spell end for sunglasses:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57434403-76/google-patents-project-glass-wearable-display/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I didn't bother reading the cnet article you linked...

      ... because... well, you know... CNET... so I have no comment to make on how overblown and/or misanalyzed that article may be, but *this* article in fact understates the situation - see other post for details.

      (It is, however, misanalyzed, I must admit, unclear as it is on the relative roles played by claims and embodiments in a patent application.)

  7. John G Imrie

    ZX Spectrum

    I'm pretty sure my ZX Spectrum did something smiler depending on which of the multitude of shift keys you pressed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, it didn't.

      Because 1) it didn't have a soft keyboard 2) when you pressed one of the "multitude of shift keys" it did not display a number of objects corresponding to alternative layouts from which you could choose which alternative layout you wanted.

      (This post applies to many of the claims of prior art in this thread but I won't be posting it in reply to every individual one of them! *Read* the actual patent, folks, it's linked from the article.)

      1. John G Imrie

        So the real inovatave step then

        Is taking a real keyboard and reproducing it's functionality in software and then changing the icons on the keys when you press another key.

        And no I haven't read the Patent because fore every one I read I treble the potential damages some stupid patent troll can demand from me

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So the real inovatave step then

          No, that's not the real innovative step. There is no innovative step, and if you'd read the patent you'd know that and be able to defend yourself against false accusations, which seems to me a better plan than voluntary self-lobotomy.

          (How the hell would they ever know you'd read a patent if you weren't daft enough to tell them you had, anyway?)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Palm Tungsten 3/ T|X and friends did this back in 2003-5

    Prior art, surely?

    1. Chet Mannly

      "The Palm Tungsten 3/ T|X and friends did this back in 2003-5"

      The original Palm Pilot did that, predating even the first of the Newton made by Apple, let alone any 'i' products...

      Prior art definitely...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Except for the rather inconvenient fact that the Newton was released 4 years prior to the Palm Pilot (the Newton was released in 1993, the Palm Pilot in 1997). The Pilot 1000 didn't have the features mentioned by this patent (released 1996).But hey, it's out thereinks so it must be true now. You win the internets. Medal is in the post.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And four years before that....

          GRiDPad. Interesting things, heavy as hell, especially the ones the US Army used for mortars.

  9. banjomike
    FAIL

    The US Patent Office

    must be giving their staff some powerful drugs in order for them to keep coming up with these monumentally stupid decisions time after time. Either that or they only recruit cretins.

    1. asdf
      FAIL

      Re: The US Patent Office

      They do it on purpose. The patent office is one of the revenue streams for the government and there is a lot of pressure put on to accept the patents and let the courts decide the issue. That way lawyers get paid and lots of bureaucrats can justify their crap jobs.

    2. Zee_SS
      Thumb Down

      Re: The US Patent Office

      On top of the obvious drug feeding they probably have targets to meet based on the number of applications deemed successful. They should all be re-educated in order to better understand that a successful application is not celebrating success of the US Patent Office, it is the successful demonstration of a patent's innovation.

      It must be tough trawling through all the sh(te they have to read, imagine studying a patent for days on end and then having to constantly use the 'reject' stamp with it's worn, stubby, dry and cracking rubber whilst the fresh, moist, green and supple 'approved' stamp stands perky on the other side of the desk.

  10. Sarev
    FAIL

    RISC OS had this in the 90's

    See title.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RISC OS had this in the 90's

      Was RISC OS ever used to power a "A portable electronic device" (1st sentence, 1st paragraph of the 'claims' part of the patent. So no, it doesn't constitute prior art. It would help if most of you self appointed 'legal experts' actually RTFP before spewing your, ahem, wisdom onto the Internet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes, RISC OS was used to power "a portable electronic device".

        The Acorn A4 laptop

  11. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    I'm "typing" this on...

    http://www.fitaly.com/tabletfitaly/fitalymanual.htm

    First used on a PalmPilot.

    Then, I have an RSI thing now, but I can use a stylus. Actually, stylus plus clicker works pretty well. I use an optical Bluetooth mouse with the optical censor taped over, currently.

    So it sounds as though Apple will want to buy Fitaly and its patents and prior art. And destroy them. Drat.

  12. Infernoz Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Massive Prior Art, so serious FUBAR by US Patent drones if accepted!

    Apple are being F'ing cheeky patenting this, they must know about the numerous prior art for this e.g.

    the excellent "Thumb Keyboard" App I bought on the Google Market, does this adaptive keyboard stuff already!

    Mouse keyboards and most touch interfaces also change the keys/buttons displayed based on control keys, including years old Retail POS and Windows programs; so Apple are sooooo taking the piss!

    Software Patents MUST end, they are routinely abused and too often based on Prior Art of some sort!

  13. K. Adams
    Facepalm

    owwowwOwwOwwOWWOWWOWW...!

    Please make it stop. My head hurts.

  14. Keep Refrigerated
    Trollface

    Deadlock

    Surely now is the time to sieze the opportunity to register a 'design' patent on the graphical display of such a keyboard and force Apple's hand?!

  15. Roger Stenning
    Flame

    On Prior art etc...

    ...are Apple going to Trademark their name so that you can't even use the name of a pre-existing fruit of Biblical Notoriety?

    The USPTO needs more than a kick in the nom des plumes, it needs to be abolished immediately. It's stifling creativity, innovation, and technical advancement. re[lace it with a USIPPO if you must (United States Intellectual Property Protection Office (I coined it first, kindly pay me the royalties!), with a MUCH tighter definition of what is and is not patentable and eligible for IP Protection. You could always model it on the British model, which, while far from perfect, is at least sensible enough (or has been in the past) to tell what should and should not be patentable.

    1. JimmyPage
      Unhappy

      ...are Apple going to Trademark their name ...

      Well they managed to screw over a music company called "Apple" that had been going for 20+ years ...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Claims

    Ignore the embodiment, that is just a distraction. While the embodiment may help block other patents (been there, they tried that) it won't help with getting any parti coloured (or green, in Yankville) revenue directly.

    It is all about the claims and nothing but the claims.

    Make them big and general (but not so general that they are vulnerable to easily being stricken), with lots of dependent claims to cover the dangley bits. Only a few need to remain standing to to get the investment back.

  17. William Boyle

    Proof of corruption in the USPTO

    This is not a new idea, and the fact that the USPTO is issuing a patent for this concept is just plain disgusting! I can point out "soft" keyboard mappings from the early 1980's. I used to do this for clients who had disabilities - missing fingers, hands, etc. so they could interact with the computer effectively. Press one "hot key" and get one mapping, press it (or another) again, and get a different one. That way, they could do things like the "three finger salute" to reboot the computer with a single key.

  18. P. Lee
    Paris Hilton

    USPTO

    Are simply doing what all organisations do, maximising income while minimising (externalising) costs.

    They don't have to sort out the mess.

    That's what you get when you want government by managers rather than leaders.

    1. Craigness

      Re: USPTO

      I hope they can be sued for negligence. They ought to be.

      1. paulc
        Mushroom

        Clawback...

        It would help if there was clawback of the fees for overturned patents... preferably out of the pockets of the person who rubber stamped it approved...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Hear f*kin' hear.

          Bogus patents, where someone claims to have invented something that they know perfectly well they haven't, are lies, and since they are lies told for the explicit purpose of obtaining a financial benefit from others, they are criminal fraud and should be prosecuted and such. Obtaining money by deception is a serious crime that usually results in jail time, and there's no reason that white-collar workers should be exempt from the law just because they commit their crimes at a keyboard and with full paperwork done in triplicate.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            facepalm

            *AS* such. Not "and" such. Bah.

  19. Kevin Johnston

    I have an idea

    Why doesn't someone go for a patent on the idea of an office which grants some sort of license (or patent) on design ideas, then we can force the current one to 'cease and desist' while it drags through court. I feel sure that a number of companies would back this idea if only to free the shackles

  20. localzuk

    People seem to have missed the point

    This isn't a 'press shift and it changes the layout changes'. It is 'press a button and half a dozen different keyboard layouts are displayed on screen, allowing you to choose which one you want, then tap on it, and use it'.

    People saying the XMBC has had this, or their Motorola blah, you are wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People seem to have missed the point

      Oh that's alright then glad you explained it.

      A new patent on an existing idea is supposed to be a non-obvious extension, what exactly about this is not obvious?

      I had a piece of software that did exactly this years ago but for physical keyboards but cannot remember what it was called. I used it to map different layouts for games and once set up you would "'press a button and half a dozen different keyboard layouts are displayed on screen, allowing you to choose which one you want, then tap on it, and use it'."

      Why is it that fruity fans seem to be devoid of anything approaching common sense when it comes to their beloved company. Can you really not see what they are doing is wrong?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: what exactly about this is not obvious?

        The method, programmatically, by which this is achieved. Read the patent. No, not the article relating to the patent, actually RTFP.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: what exactly about this is not obvious?

          'The method, programmatically, by which this is achieved'

          And yet more proof why software patents are a really bad idea, this being granted is just bollox

    2. what_fresh_hell_is_this?

      Re: People seem to have missed the point

      No, you've missed the point.

      In commenting on articles like this, the point is not to make an effort to understand the reality behind the article, but to bellow, preferably in CAPS, about the title of the patent.

      This understanding business is wa-a-a-ay over-rated.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *BASH* *BASH* *BASH*

    Banging my head against the pole on my horse, I want to get off this pathetic patent-troll infested tech Merry-Go-Round, it's just not fun anymore!

    *BASH* *BASH* *BASH*

  22. irgxana
    Facepalm

    patent trolls ahead

    erm, I had one on my Sony Ericsson P800 before the iphone existed. I really really hate the mess of patent wars that are ruining the tech industry.

  23. g e
    FAIL

    If Apple are so clever with keyboards

    Then why does their shit still display an uppercase keyboard and highlight letter when you're typing in lower case?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If Apple are so clever with keyboards

      Good point. First time I typed something on an iPhone I thought either the keyboard was broken or I was being a massive tit...it simply didn't occur to me it can't show lower case letters.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If Apple are so clever with keyboards

        The latter - 5-6 year olds can happily use iPhones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If Apple are so clever with keyboards

          5-6 year olds can happily use iPhones.

          Well done, you've found the target market for iPhones then

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "The latter" of which two choices?

          You keep using^W^Wused that word once. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  24. A J Stiles
    FAIL

    Does the USPTO have a non-obviety test?

    Even if there was not already prior art for this, it would be obvious to anyone ordinarily skilled in the art, and therefore not meet the requirements for patentability in the UK. (Side question: presumably the UK authorities will offer no assistance to foreign authorities in question with something which supposedly infringes on a patent which is inapplicable in the UK?)

    But there is prior art: An applet which displays a map of the layout of a computer's (physical, because that was what they had then) keyboard in various states of shift / ctrl / alt and allows you to copy characters to the clipboard by clicking on the virtual keys. Anyone but a drooling imbecile can see how obvious the extension of this principle to a touchscreen keyboard would be. Oh, and this prior art was more than long enough ago that if it was patented then, it would have expired by now.

    So, for 10 points, can you guess which computer this was first seen on?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, it doesn't.

      But it does have a non-obviousness test.

      Seriously, "obviety"? Yuck!

      1. A J Stiles

        Re: No, it doesn't.

        Someone or something that is ___ious is full of ___iety. For example, various; pious; anxious; obvious; obnoxious.

        You'll be telling me next that the past tense of "breathe" is "breathed" as opposed to "brothe".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You made me go and browse some etymology!

          I think I can see a pattern there. Adjectival nouns derived from -ious words that came into English via Old French take the -iety ending, because in French they had a "té" ending. For words that came into English directly from Latin, such as obvious and noxious, the nounal forms were constructed by English speakers, using the English -ness ending rather than the French -té ending. (Which are the translated equivalents of each other.)

          And if you don't like it you can get stove!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No, it doesn't.

          @ A J Stiles English being the mongrel language it is, just because "pious" works that way doesn't mean that "obvious" does. The word in English is "obviousness". Try a Googlefight between obviety and obviousness if you don't believe me!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Wooosh!

            Wasn't the bit about "brothe" enough to give it away?

  25. Atonnis
    Devil

    In short...

    ....on this one, Apple can fuck right off....

    ....your honour...

  26. Keith 17

    Let them go ahead.

    There is something of the revolutionary in open source which appeals to the Che Guevara - whilst maybe not in all of us - in a very many of us.

    Whilst Android might come from what is effectively a huge advertising agency, it still brings with it that kinda revolutionary feel.

    The more the fruit-machine tries to stifle, the more the feeling builds.

    Apple will eventually piss off enough people that they'll eventually hoist themselves with their own petard.

    Maybe that sounds fanciful, but then Microsoft also looked completely unbeatable at one time, as did big blue before that.

    The Patent Office is a complete load of arse and the whole software patents area needs a serious shake-up, but the more ridiculous it gets then the more chance there is of that shake-up happening.

    If it all comes at the expense of those companies that (ab)use it to simply stop others developing usable devices, then I'm all for that.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple must be a really good F*ck!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Idiot simple

    Is it really true that such simple and obvious ideas can be patented?

  29. Peter Dawe
    Pirate

    Intelectual property IS theft!

    Yet another example of the abuse of IP law. It is now so out of control the only solution is to totally abandon patent and copyright. Musicians will have to work for more the a few hours in a studio to make millions, Big Patent holders will no longer hold innovation to ransom.

    OK there may be problems with movies, but I would guess product placement will solve that!

    And most blue sky work is taxpayer funded anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I concur.

      And, given that intellectual property is theft, then piracy is legitimate self-defence.

  30. Andy Enderby 1
    Thumb Down

    prior art ?

    er... the shift key ? The Num Lock key ? Er...... does US patent law not include a clause to the effect that an invention should not be obvious, or is this waived if the company filing is a big player ?

  31. Lallabalalla
    Trollface

    Speaking of keyboards, etc

    have they patented the letter "i" yet?

  32. nijam Silver badge

    As we're all agreed that it's obvious in the rest of the world, perhaps the story is actually a comment on how stupid they are in the USA?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The claims are broader than your analysis suggests.

    I'll just reformat the patent slightly:

    >"What is claimed is:

    1. A portable electronic device, comprising: a display; one or more processors; memory; and a program, wherein the program is stored in the memory and configured to be executed by the one or more processors, the program including instructions for:

    - displaying a single soft keyboard in a first area and a window in a second area on a display of the portable electronic device, wherein the window is configured to display characters selected using a plurality of soft keyboards, wherein the plurality of soft keyboards includes a keyboard that is primarily letters;

    - in response to an input by a user, displaying simultaneously a plurality of objects that correspond to the plurality of soft keyboards; and, in response to selection of one of the plurality of objects by the user, displaying in the first area the soft keyboard that corresponds to the selected object and making operational, of the plurality of soft keyboards, only the soft keyboard corresponding to the selected object. "

    So, the first part is just preamble that says this is a computer, running a program, which does the following things.

    The second part says that it has a soft keyboard, that the soft keyboard is used to input into a text area, that there is more than one soft keyboard (i.e., that it has alternate layouts or shift sets), and at least one of them is mostly letters.

    The third part says that there's a way, any means at all from all the input devices available to the machine, to instruct it to display a bunch of "objects" that "correspond to" the keyboards and allow the user to select one to make the soft keyboard adopt that layout.

    Now, remembering that each claim stands by itself, this specifies nothing about what kind of "input" the user must make to initiate the selection process, nor what kinds of "objects" are used to represent the keyboard layouts available. By that definition, clicking on a menu would count as an input, and a submenu or dialog box with a drop-down listing of alternative layouts would count as displaying objects representing the alternative layouts. Note that it doesn't specify that the alternative layouts have to be shift sets in particular; so even the Windows XP On-Screen Keyboard, which has a "Keyboard" menu item that drops down on response to an input (clicking), displaying a bunch of objects (menu items) each of which represents a different soft keyboard (standard/extended/101/102/106 keys, etc.) would be caught by this.

    So, yeah, this is every bit as much of a dishonest claim to have invented something that has been around for years as we are used to seeing from Apple.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually I hope Apple succeed on this one

    I really hate typing on a touchscreen, so if everyone else is forced to use physical keyboards that'll give me a wider range of usable devices to choose from.

    (typed on a proper keyboard, with mechanical keyswitches)

  35. Gobhicks
    Stop

    RTFP

    From claim 1:

    "in response to an input by a user, displaying simultaneously a plurality of objects that correspond to the plurality of soft keyboards; and, in response to selection of one of the plurality of objects by the user, displaying in the first area the soft keyboard that corresponds to the selected object"

    The other independent claims have similar limitations. You need to do something before you get a choice of keyboards to select from. I'm not saying it's patentable, but it doesn't cover an Android keyboard with a permanently visible keyboard-toggle button.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's no use downvoting the truth.

      You can't handle the truth!

  36. iTard
    WTF?

    What is the truth?

    What's in it for you and only you?

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.

    ~ Andre Gide (1869 - 1951)

    It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive.

    ~ C. W. Leadbeater

    Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, "What's in it for me?"

    ~ Brian Tracy

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