Apple patents OS X Dock

Do you hear war drums?


Apple has patented the OS X Dock, nearly a decade after the operating system made its public debut with a new slant on the taskbar.

The late arrival isn't due to a lack of initiative, however. Apple applied for the patent December 20, 1999, and it was approved by the US Patent Office only yesterday.

Apple summarizes the Dock as a "user interface for providing consolidation and access." The patent (available here) puts a particular focus on the Dock's ability to magnify icons to a predetermined size when the cursor is near, the user's ability to rearrange icons, and the way it overlaps the desktop and active windows. Other touches such as indicating which applications are running, label tiles appearing on mouse-over, and the ability to drag and drop files into applications on the Dock are also described.

The patent credits inventors Steve Jobs, Bas Ording, and Donald Lindsay.

Apple has regarded the Dock as the focus of OS X's user interface from the beginning. There can be little doubt Cupertino is happy to have its hands on the legal rights.

The big question here is: What's next?

Historically, Apple hasn't exactly been shy about pursuing legal action against those it considers infringing on its patent portfolio. This could be bad news for imitators such as ObjectDock, RocketDock, Avant Windows Navigator, and others.

An Apple spokesperson wasn't immediately available for comment. We'll just have to put our ears to the ground and listen for war drums sounding from Cupertino. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Workers win vote to form first-ever US Apple Store union
    Results set to be ratified by labor board by end of the week

    Workers at an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland have voted to form a union, making them the first of the iGiant's retail staff to do so in the United States.

    Out of 110 eligible voters, 65 employees voted in support of unionization versus 33 who voted against it. The organizing committee, known as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE), has now filed to certify the results with America's National Labor Relations Board. Members joining this first-ever US Apple Store union will be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

    "I applaud the courage displayed by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory," IAM's international president Robert Martinez Jr said in a statement on Saturday. "They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election."

    Continue reading
  • Apple’s M2 chip isn’t a slam dunk, but it does point to the future
    The chip’s GPU and neural engine could overshadow Apple’s concession on CPU performance

    Analysis For all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Apple's move to homegrown silicon for Macs, the tech giant has admitted that the new M2 chip isn't quite the slam dunk that its predecessor was when compared to the latest from Apple's former CPU supplier, Intel.

    During its WWDC 2022 keynote Monday, Apple focused its high-level sales pitch for the M2 on claims that the chip is much more power efficient than Intel's latest laptop CPUs. But while doing so, the iPhone maker admitted that Intel has it beat, at least for now, when it comes to CPU performance.

    Apple laid this out clearly during the presentation when Johny Srouji, Apple's senior vice president of hardware technologies, said the M2's eight-core CPU will provide 87 percent of the peak performance of Intel's 12-core Core i7-1260P while using just a quarter of the rival chip's power.

    Continue reading
  • Apple may have to cough up $1bn to Brits in latest iPhone Batterygate claim
    Lawsuit took its time, just like your older iOS handset

    Another day, another legal claim against Apple for deliberately throttling the performance of its iPhones to save battery power.

    This latest case was brought by Justin Gutmann, who has asked the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) to approve a collective action that could allow as many as 25 million Brits to claim compensation from the American technology giant. He claims the iGiant secretly degraded their smartphones' performance to make the battery power last longer.

    Apple may therefore have to cough up an eye-popping £768 million ($927 million), Gutmann's lawyers estimated, Bloomberg first reported this week.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022